Been a while since I posted any movie reviews here. I was actually planning on setting up a separate sub-site here for movies, but it looks like that will take some more time. Anyway, here are reviews for What Lies Beneath, Training Day and Hard-Boiled.
- What Lies Beneath (2000) - Starring Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Norman and Claire Spencer are a couple who have just sent their daughter off to college - so it gets pretty lonely for Claire who has to spend most of the day in her large house (which was left to the couple by Norman's father). Norman is a researcher who is currently working on a very important paper and he therefore spends a lot of time on work. When strange things start happening around Claire (doors opening by themselves, pictures falling to the ground, seeing multiple reflections in a bathtub!), she claims it's a ghost haunting the house but obviously no one believes her. As the movie progresses we discover that there is in fact a ghost haunting the house - and it may be the ghost of a young woman whom Norman had an affair with a year earlier. This much, you can probably make out from the movie's trailer itself - but there are lots of twists ahead - and I wouldn't want to spoil the surprises for you.
I was expecting a standard suspense thriller but this was better. As you'd expect the acting is very good, and there are several genuinely creepy scenes (especially that one with the reflections in the bathtub), thanks to very good camerawork. I enjoyed this movie.
- Training Day (2001) - Starring Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke. Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Ethan Hawke is a rookie cop called Jake Hoyt who wants to become a narcotics officer - and eventually a detective in the force. He must first prove his worth to Detective Alonzo Harris (Washington) - and Harris gives him exactly one day to do that. Harris is one of the force's top detectives - but as Hoyt discovers to his horror, Harris is also one of the most corrupt, twisted, mean cops he will ever see! Harris steals money, steals drugs from drug pushers, makes Hoyt smoke PCP-flavoured marijuana, and literally takes poor Hoyt through hell! Harris' philosophy - to be a good cop, you have to have a little dirt on you - to protect sheep from wolves, you must be a wolf yourself. He tells Hoyt that his way of dealing with criminals may seem disturbing, but it's the only way to reach the top - and once you're there, you can change things. Hoyt must decide whether to stick to his ethics, or do things Harris' way.
When I saw the trailer for the movie and later learnt that it was directed by Antoine Fuqua (who made The Replacement Killers - a good but by no means great movie), I thought it would be a good, but ordinary movie. I was interested in seeing how Denzel Washington won the Best Actor Oscar over Russell Crowe (who gave a fantastic performance in A Beautiful Mind). I couldn't have been surprised more. Training Day was an awesome movie with brilliant acting from both the two stars. It was tense, realistic and very disturbing (contains some very brutal violence - especially in the end). I also liked the way the script dealt with ethical issues - when in a difficult situation, what do you do - do you break rules but come out as a hero, or do you stick to rules and put yourself in danger? How do you react when a person you respect is himself corrupt and tells you to do things his way? A pretty intense movie. Written by David Ayer.
- Hard-Boiled (1992) - Starring Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung. Directed by John Woo. A police thriller which (as I read) John Woo made to show the hard work which the Hong Kong police do every day. Chow Yun-Fat is a cop, Inspector Yuen, who loses a partner in a restaurant shootout in the opening scene of the movie. He is trying to catch the arms dealer responsible for the death of his friend. Allen (Tony Leung) is an assassin who double-crosses his former employer and joins the arms dealer - but he may actually be an undercover cop who is also trying to trap the bad guys!
I don't think the story was the most important thing in the movie. Rather, it focuses on the development of the characters of Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung - and it delivers non-stop action. There is only one word I can think of to describe the action scenes in this movie - WOW! I thought the last 15 minutes of Woo's A Better Tomorrow II had spectacular action.... well, this movie was like those 15 minutes repeated over and over again! There seems to be enough firepower here to take out half the planet! This movie had some of the most powerful, most stylish action scenes I've ever seen (lots and lots of violence!). Yet, there is one scene involving a baby that is action-packed, funny and touching all at the same time... it's because of things like this that John Woo is one of my favourite directors - and the reason why I very highly recommend this movie.
The version of the movie that I saw was the censored version released here in India. It has a length of 107 minutes. The full version is supposed to be 127 minutes long. I don't know exactly which parts were cut, but I guess the missing scenes would have been for story/character development. Anyway, that didn't hamper my enjoyment of the movie one bit. Added bonus - Woo himself appears in two scenes as a bartender (and Yuen's friend).
I updated my Gallery on May 11th and 15th as I said I would - only I didn't write about it on the main page. Anyway, here's a list of the drawings I added -
- May 11 - On May 11, I added a drawing of director Paul Verhoeven (who's made movies like RoboCop and Total Recall), a poster of I Know What You Did Last Summer and a picture of Sylvester Stallone in Demolition Man. I announced that I would be putting up some of my best work on the May 15 update.
- May 15 - As promised, some of my best drawings were added - a picture of Jackie Chan from First Strike, a picture of Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls, and a Schwarzenegger drawing (Total Recall). I also put up the most recent drawing I did - a poster of The Matrix. I really like the way this came out, especially since this was done after a break of about 3-4 years from serious drawing. I uploaded two versions of this drawing. One is the final finished picture, another is an in-progress version where I had just drawn the basic faces without shading.
Next update will be on May 20. There will be two pictures of a movie called Dark Breed - a low budget action/horror movie. I'll also be putting up a surprise pic as I do everytime.
So, go and see Karthik's Drawings at http://karthik82.tripod.com/gallery.
News from May 6 -
- Mon/Tue/Wed, May 6/7/8 - Watched Star Trek Voyager: "The Cloud". And in the night we saw A Beautiful Mind. I thought it was a good movie, but if you ask me The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was much better. On 7th I downloaded several X Files MP3s (from the soundtrack album). And watched Star Trek Voyager: "The Eye of the Needle". Scanned more drawings of mine. 8th's Voyager episode was "Ex Post Facto". And I scanned more drawings. I started drawing a picture after a break of nearly 3-4 years... which is on my Gallery now.
- Thu/Fri, May 9/10 - Finished the drawing and watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Real Me" and Star Trek Voyager: "Emanations". On Friday I saw Star Trek Voyager: "Prime Factors" and at 9:30 PM I saw What Lies Beneath on STAR Movies. I enjoyed this movie - it was a lot better than I expected.
- Sat/Sun, May 11/12 - Star Trek Voyager Episodes: "State of Flux" and "Heroes and Demons". On Sunday, Varun and Ganeshan played Unreal Tournament, I had fun watching. I tried drawing a picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar but it ended up looking like someone else :).
- Mon/Tue, May 13/14 - Star Trek Voyager Episodes: "Cathexis" and "Faces". On Monday I got to see Pablo Dictter's latest design for his Photography site, Pablo's Internal Organs. And of course I saved quite a few pictures from there. My Yahoo! Mail Inbox was about 5 MB in size so I saved and deleted the old messages from there. On Tuesday Varun and me were experimenting with Flash 5 - thanks to a tutorial written by Tobias Münch. And I also updated Karthik's Doom Pages saying that 15th was my Birthday, and I also put up two textures I made on 13th. These were my very first textures ever - made from one of my Doom-style drawings.
- Wed, May 15 - My Birthday!! I'm 20 years old. Thanks everyone for all your wishes and emails. Varun made a birthday card for me in Flash - see it here. Of course, I updated my Gallery as I said I would, and later watched Star Trek Voyager: "Jetrel". In the evening my father took me to Ruby Videos - the place I buy all my videos from. It's been a long time since I went there to buy movies and I wonder why I ever stopped :). Anyway I got Hard-Boiled (a John Woo movie, starring Chow Yun-Fat) on video. At night we went to see Training Day - which was a terrific movie. After I got home I found that Christian Hansen had released his Doom Episode CH_Retro.
- Thu, May 16 - Watched Star Trek Voyager: "Learning Curve". And in the afternoon, I saw Hard-Boiled. This is simply one of the best action movies I have ever seen. Review above. Also got a Birthday Card with wishes from my grandmother, uncle, and aunt. I've scanned two photos of mine which were taken in 1982 - I was about three months old then. I'll be putting them both up soon! And I also saw the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "The Replacement" in which a zap from a weapon of the demon Toth splits Xander into two duplicates. This was a pretty good episode.
Nowadays I visit the IMDb everyday and I've learnt a lot of stuff because of that. Today on STAR Movies I'm going to see Me, Myself & Irene.
Thanks Rajeev for signing my Guestbook.
The Art Gallery has been updated with three new drawings! If you saw the page before you already know what two of them are - because I mentioned what I would be adding. These are the new additions -
- The possessed Ed from "Evil Dead II" - as I said last time,
- Bruce Willis and Jeremy Irons in "Die Hard With A Vengeance",
- and a picture of Mulder and Scully (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) from "The X Files".
The next set of drawings will be put up on May 11. This will feature a poster of I Know What You Did Last Summer (you can see a preview of that on the page) and a picture of director Paul Verhoeven (director of RoboCop, Total Recall and Hollow Man). There will be one surprise drawing also.
So go to http://karthik82.tripod.com/gallery and tell me what you think of the new additions!
I removed the earlier news post because it was taking up too much space here. You can always go to the News Archives Page to read it (and of course, all the updates I've written for the past two years are there!).
- Thu, May 2 - New season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel started on STAR World. The Buffy episode was called "Buffy vs. Dracula" and had her facing the all-powerful vampire... who looked very different from the character in Bram Stoker's novel. There was a twist at the end though, it seems that Buffy has a sister called Dawn! The Angel episode had Angel protecting a woman from some mystical medeival ghosts' judgement. Somehow, I no longer have the same enthusiasm for Buffy and Angel that I had a couple of years ago. Anyway I also saw the second part of Star Trek Voyager: "Caretaker". Tobias also sent an AVI video that he filmed. And I saw two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The first one "The Canary Sedan" had a ghost trying to free her spirit, and the second one, "The Human Interest Story" was about a man who claims that he's from Alpha Centauri - and that aliens from there are going to colonise the Earth!
- Fri, May 3 - Saw Star Trek Voyager: "Parallax". This episode had the USS Voyager crew trapped in the event horizon of a singularity. And I also found a site about David Fincher (director of Seven, Fight Club) called DavidFincher.net. This site has a nice design, it looked like it was done with Flash or something but then I was surprised to see that they did everything with just HTML and images.
- Sat, May 4 - Watched Star Trek Voyager: "Time and Again" and read about 86 pages of the Fight Club script by Jim Uhls, and watched the movie also at night.
- Sun, May 5 - Watched Enter the Dragon again, and Star Trek Voyager: "Phage". At night I also watched Star Trek The Next Generation: "Tapestry". You can read episode summaries of all the Star Trek Episodes I mentioned here at the Official Site.
Thanks Nagesh for signing my Guestbook! Today I'm also going to see A Beautiful Mind.
Ever since we got a scanner (that was Apr 30), I've been busy scanning my drawings (some of you reading this have already seen many of them in my books, etc.), and I've now set up this Art Gallery on my site, which will have the best of my work since 1994! For now, I'm starting off with 5 drawings -
- Jim Carrey in "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls"
- Wesley Snipes in "Blade"
- Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in "Seven"
- John Travolta
- A "RoboCop" drawing from 1994
Keep watching the Gallery because I'll be regularly adding pictures to it! The address of the gallery is http://karthik82.tripod.com/gallery and I'll be announcing the upcoming drawings here as well. Coming Soon - "Evil Dead II" and "Die Hard With a Vengeance".
By the way, you may have also noticed that I've currently taken the Movie Reviews offline, they'll be back (and in a big way!) soon! That is something to watch out for...
Oh wow, more than a month has passed by since the last update! And I've got so much stuff to write about... well, you probably can't read everything I'm going to write now in one sitting - but anyway, here goes...
- Tue, 26 Mar - Did a program for Operator Precedence Parsing and downloaded Harry Nilsson's Coconut (this song appears in the end credits of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs).
- Wed, 27 Mar - Test in Artificial Intelligence. I came home immediately after writing the test (didn't attend classes that day) and did a Brute Force Parsing program and started on a program to convert 3 Address Code to Assembly. Varun finished his SSC Exams! And so that night we all went to see The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring again. But this time we saw it in a different theatre where the sound quality wasn't good!
- Thu, 28 Mar - Didn't study for the Language Processors test at all. But wrote it OK anyway. Practical Final Exams dates were announced - what a shock! They would be on 2 and 3 April itself! In the LP practical class that day I finished the Assembly Convertor program and that brought the total number of programs I'd officially done that semester to 5. Watched that day's Roswell episode and Pitch Black on STAR Movies.
- Sun/Mon, 31 Mar/1 Apr - Read a lot of trivia about Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction at the IMDb. Also Erik Alm released a level called The Dark Side of Vrack. Watched half of Pulp Fiction. On April 1, I prepared all I could for the LP exam the next day. Watched the other half of Pulp Fiction too.
- Tue/Wed, 2/3 Apr - III Year, II Semester Final Practical Exams started! First was the Language Processors Practical Exam, which I think is one of the toughest exams ever (atleast for me). Anyway I was very relieved because I did it well! The program I had to do was Brute Force Parsing, and my program would even find alternate derivations for a string from a particular grammar (if there were any). That evening I prepared for the DBMS Practicals the next day. On 3 April we had the Database Management Systems Practical Final Exam. There was one SQL query and a PL/SQL program I had to do. The query was: Write an SQL query to get the employee details of all the employees who joined on either Monday or Friday. I had to think a little (and create a dummy table and insert some rows to figure it out) to get the answer but I finally did - select * from emp where to_char(hiredate, 'D') = '2' or to_char(hiredate, 'D') = '6'; and it was right. The PL/SQL program was quite simple, it was a program to Hike up the Salary of an Employee based on his years of experience - 10% hike if the guy had less than 20 years of experience, 20% for 20-23 yrs. and 30% for greater than 23. That evening, I watched my first ever episode of Star Trek Voyager: "The Haunting of Deck Twelve".
- Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon, 4/5/6/7/8 Apr - Watched Star Trek Voyager: "Unimatrix Zero" and Sliders: "Data World" on Hallmark Channel. On 5th I watched Ronin on STAR Movies and Star Trek Voyager: "Unimatrix Zero Part II". On 6th, I spent a lot of time reading reviews at JoBlo's Movie Emporium, and downloaded several Fight Club wallpapers, one of which is on my desktop right now. On 7 April, in the afternoon, I watched Trancers once again. I'd recorded this years back, and it's a good thing I did! Got some GBA Doom MP3s from Elbryan 42's Doom Depot, and also Simarik by Turkish singer Tarkan. Star Trek Voyager is an awesome TV show. Since we don't get Cartoon Network anymore and since they have also stopped showing Dragonball Z, I guess my favourite TV show is now Star Trek Voyager. Anyway, on 8th I also got some AVI trailers of Scooby Doo (movie to be released in June 2002) and Blade II on some Digit CDs.
- Tue, 9 Apr - Watched Star Trek Voyager: "Critical Care". On 8th, I'd updated Karthik's Doom Pages with a wallpaper called Instant Zombification. Varun had updated his site Varun 20787 the previous day announcing an upcoming surprise. Doom Center posted news about both of us, and the two news items appeared one after the other on the main page - coincidence :). By the way, I had holidays all this time, right upto 15 April, when my Final Theory Exams would start.
- Wed, 10 Apr - Varun released a Doom II level called Short 'n Quick on his site. It is a very cool map and I highly recommend you download it!
- Mon, 15 Apr - III Year II Semester Final Exams started! The first exam was Computer Networks, which was OK. I did quite well, though the paper was unlike anything I'd expected. Anyway, after coming back home, I watched Seven again. This is one awesome movie.
- Wed, 17 Apr - Database Management Systems Exam. Again in this I did pretty well. After coming home I watched The Dead Next Door - a very nice low budget movie from director J. R. Bookwalter. See the Official Dead Next Door Site.
- Fri, 19 Apr - Language Processors Exam, did OK in this one under the circumstances. Not great, not bad. Watched Alien after coming home. On 20th, Doomworld posted this link to a Doom Art Gallery. On Sunday I watched two terrific Star Trek Voyager episodes - "Workforce" Part I and Part II.
- Mon, 22 Apr - Computer Graphics Exam. I thought this would be the easiest of all the exams but it was the exact opposite! Anyway, I did my best. And I watched A Better Tomorrow II again. This is one fantastic movie. Star Trek Voyager: "Human Error" was a nice episode too. And then at night we went to the theatre to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Inspite of what people may say about this movie, I enjoyed it and I thought it was a good movie.
- Tue, 23 Apr - Played Trust by Tommie Quick. This is a terrific Doom II episode for ZDoom, with a very Half-Life-like gameplay. Tommie's techno songs are great too. I thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek Voyager: "Q2" and then that night I saw Kickboxer II: The Road Back on STAR Movies. This movie was written by David S. Goyer and it was very good. On Wednesday I watched Star Trek Voyager: "Author, Author" and studied for the next exam.
- Thu, 25 Apr - Management Science Exam. This exam was probably the best I did among the whole set. Watched The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! in the afternoon and also Star Trek Voyager: "Friendship One". That night I didn't plan to see Wolf on AXN but I did anyway. On Friday I studied for the last exam.
- Sat, 27 Apr - Artificial Intelligence Exam. This went OK as well. With that, I finished my III Year of Computer Engineering and I now have TWO MONTHS of summer holidays! I read on Doomworld that id Software redesigned their site. On 28th I wanted to do a redesign of Karthik's Doom Pages but it didn't work out so I retained the old one. And I made an update about the site being one year old!
- Mon, 29 Apr - Karthik's Doom Pages has been hosted at NewDoom.com for one year! Watched two episodes of Star Trek Voyager: "Renaissance Man" and "Endgame". Endgame is a two part episode, the last two episodes of the series. And speaking of Star Trek, I noticed on the Star Trek website that April 29 was Kate Mulgrew's birthday (she plays Captain Kathryn Janeway in the series). I also saw two episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on AXN. These two episodes were "Beast In View" which was OK, and "Final Escape" which was really fun.
- Tue, 30 Apr - Varun got his SSC Exam Results (Congratulations Varun for getting 518/600!). He made an update on Varun 20787 about that, and also posted a nice photo gallery with pictures from the school tour he went on in October 2001. We scanned the photos with our new scanner - which we got on 30th. This is a UMAX AstraSlim 600 scanner, and is really cool. I watched Star Trek Voyager: "Endgame Part II", the final episode of the show. And it was fantastic! What a terrific ending! That night I recorded the next episode of Star Trek Voyager on Hallmark (they've started from the first episode again, which is a good thing because I started watching the show in it's seventh season, missing more than a hundred episodes!!), and after that I happened to catch Linkin Park's In The End video on Channel [V].
- Wed, 1 May - Watched Star Trek Voyager: "Caretaker". That's the first episode of the show, and though it's a two hour special episode, Hallmark is showing it in two parts. And I scanned several drawings of mine (you remember I used to do so many of these before... you don't? Doesn't matter, I have such a lot of stuff that I always wanted to put on this site, and now I can). I've started an Art Gallery on this site, with my work from 1994 till date. I'll regularly keep adding to it, so keep checking it often. The page is at http://karthik82.tripod.com/gallery. I also got MP3s of Linkin Park's In The End and One Step Closer. Watched Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "Method Actor" and read several movie reviews on JoBlo.
It took me a long time to write this! Anyway, hope you like the drawings. By the way thanks to Rakesh and Jania for signing my guestbook.