🎥 Sinister (2012)

Sinister is categorized as a “snuff” film, which means that we’re going in with the knowledge that one or more people are going to die, on screen. That too in a brutal manner, otherwise there’s no horror element. Given the expectation the “art” remains in the style of depiction, plot intrigue and character tension.

🎥 Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Having seen the Pokémon anime, I went into this expecting a bunch of Pokémon trainers, a gym fight and all those fancy aspirations of becoming the world’s best Pokémon trainer. It instead was an orthogonal adventure that sneakily incorporated all of the above while still being a typical defeat-the-bad-guy adventure.

🎥 Delhi Belly (2011)

Named after the stomach bugs that affect white people visiting India. This is a classic MacGuffin chase enhanced by bawdy humour and the sheer grossness of some of the characters. If you have the appetite, you might enjoy this one.

🎥 Two Night Stand (2014)

A mundane exploration of an equally mundane scenario that is as unambitious as its characters. The movie hopes to be a commentary on hookup culture, but gives up about halfway into the plot.

🎥 Drive (2011)

Drive is the story of a part-time stuntman, car mechanic and night-time heist getaway driver. What we see are his attempts to save his innocent neighbor from the wrong people.

🎥 Ender's Game (2013)

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite science-fiction books. Set in the future, humanity has already fended off an attack by an alien species called the “Formics”. The Humans are now preparing a direct offense against their civilization.

📚 The Tartar Steppe - Dino Buzzati (1940)

Published in 1940, The Tartar Steppe is a haunting walk-through of a life wasted away in wait of an opportunity that never arises. Think of it as a manual on what not to do when you’re stuck in a lifeless job with the perpetual hope of things improving at some point in the future.

🎥 Rajnigandha (1974)

A relic of the seventies, “Rajnigandha” is a gentle walk-through of the emotional turmoil experienced by a twenty-two year old woman when she unexpectedly meets an old flame.

🎥 The Martian (2015)

Based on The Martian a sci-fi novel by Andy Weir, this movie tries to build a narrative around how the scientific method is the only thing that will save humans, when in space. Astronaut Mark Watney is marooned on Mars due to a dust storm, which causes his team to think that he’s dead. They’re already heading back towards the earth and now he must fend for himself on the red planet.

🎥 The Interview (2014)

The Interview is a fictionalised, gory and toilet humour riddled depiction of an interview with Kim Jong-un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea. A supposed political satire which also took the form of irony when it had to make a bunch of cuts and edits in order to appease the very government it was mocking.

🎥 She's Gotta Have It (1986)

A piece of romantic drama interspersed with supposed bits of comedy. Set in the Brooklyn of the eighties we see the evolution of various romantic relationships of a woman living on her own in the city.

🎥 Insidious (2010)

A horror movie that keeps you as clueless as its characters. Delivers reliable jump scares and occult visuals forming what is the beginning of an aptly uneasy but hopefully entertaining range of movies.

🎥 Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the most iconic teen comedies of all time. It achieves this reputation through the portrayal of the ideal smart-ass teen in the form of Ferris Bueller, who cuts through most teenage problems with his charm, confidence and a knack for fooling adults.

🎥 Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

Bridget is a 32 year old single woman facing various societal pressures to get married. This leads to Bridget taking stock of her life and deciding to find the “right” man for herself. Her approach to this problem is narrated through the pages of her diary.

🎥 Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel has the distinguishing feature of being the first leading female superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character has blonde hair, a sassy edge and the ability kick butt. But what makes the character special, remains to be seen.

🎥 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

This is the second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series featuring Newt Scamander and is a part of the “wizarding world” of JK Rowling. Intent on setting up Grindelwald as a high profile antagonist in the future films, we see the movie start an array of plots and subplots, each executed with varying levels of competency. None of which come close to be even called functioning.

🎥 Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

The second Avengers film made it standard to have both a giant and a tiny Ant-Man. So, this iteration of Ant-Man does all that and also introduces a second flying tiny superhero called “The Wasp”. All this to impress an audience that is already fazed after the events of Infinity War.

🎥 Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland is a goofy undead movie first, an existential one second and finally a comedy as well. It has a penchant for breaking the fourth wall, often through the use of on-screen text as props to aid audience recollection. This makes it a primary member of the “zom-com” genre.

🎥 The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Written around the concept of virginity as something that can be “lost”, the movie is a portrayal of the range of reactions from various people as a result of finding a sexually inexperienced man in his forties.

🎥 Two Weeks Notice (2002)

“Two Weeks Notice” comes close to a well executed romantic comedy. It gets more than a few things right including the casting, the screenplay, the classic push & pull tension, respectable sidekicks and ties up all the loose ends successfully.

🎥 Miss Congeniality (2000)

Grace Hart is a tough FBI officer who ironically lacks but one quality: Grace. One could go further and claim that she’s an affront to grace, well into the territory of inelegance. Fortunately for her job, this has zero consequences since these qualities are well suited for a workaholic detective.

🎥 Officer Downe (2016)

This regrettable piece of art is based off of a graphic novel with the same name. As the trailer makes it abundantly clear, it is about a zombified “supercop” who delivers his own brand of “justice” in a crime infested city. In other words, every superhero ever.

🎥 Along Came Polly (2004)

“Along Came Polly” is the story of one Polly, who comes along and relieves a non-confrontational insurance worker from his mental habit of magnifying the more coarser aspects of humans around him.

🎥 Office Space (1999)

Office Space is essentially about boredom at work. How most people hate their jobs and will do the bare minimum needed to not get fired. This is especially visible at larger companies, where the incentives of the employer do not always align with those of the employees.

🎥 Avengers: Endgame (2019)

It is not everyday that a movie has the chief responsibility of closing eleven years worth of character arcs, plot lines and roles. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the epic conclusion to what was dubbed the “Infinity Saga”, took more than a single deliverable film. “Endgame” is the second of two movies which were produced together, but is very different from its precursor.

🎥 Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Do villains need an origin story? That’s the question that this movie tries to answer. Every major superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had at least one entire big-budget film dedicated to this idea. Given that this movie feature an ensemble cast of characters, it is important to have an antagonist that challenges each superhero to their limit, but at the same time is not just some overpowered brute.

🎥 Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver is a heist movie. This means that like all the other ones, it has a “crew”. In addition to the “mastermind”, the crew usually has a bunch of specialists for the myriad tasks that are part of any half-decent heist. Our story focuses on the “getaway driver” specialization à la the “Transporter” range of movies.

📚 Equal Rites - Discworld 3 - Terry Pratchett (1987)

This is the third published Discworld novel. It is a quick read, set in the fantastic land of Discworld, set upon the backs of four elephants, who’re standing on the back of the great cosmic turtle: A’Tuin. Mixed in with light subversion of gender tropes, the venerable humorist’s prose will make you think while you laugh.

🎥 When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

This is another fine delivery from the pen of Madame Ephron. “When Harry Met Sally…” as overtly promised in the title, is the depiction of what was a long-winded courtship between one Harry Burns and a Sally Albright. The period lasts for about twelve years and is now considered to be a classic member of the Will-They-Won’t-They club. But of course, like most members of this club, they most certainly do.

📚 Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service (2012)

For those like me who didn’t know, Mossad is Israel’s counterpart of the usual three letter secretive organisations from other countries. This book is a compilation of the various high stakes missions that this organisation has undertaken since the formation of Israel as a country in the forties.

Locale issues when SSHing into a VM

I recently had an issue with the LC_CTYPE locale variable being set to an invalid value. I searched the complete machine for where it could be set, but was unable to find the configuration location. Further investigation led to the revelation that my local OSX machine config was causing the error on the remote host.

📺 Star Trek - The Ultimate Computer - S2E24

A computer called M5 built by the scientist Daystrom is being tested out on the Enterprise. The implication of its success being that a starship no longer requires a crew, let alone a captain. We see the computer manoeuvre the starship through an unscheduled test encounter successfully.

Spotting Consecutive Integers

A useful technique that stumped me on a couple of proofs recently was the idea of “consecutive integers”. A friend had the following proposition: The result of subtracting a number from its cube is divisible by .

Arbitrarily Large Prime Gaps

If and , then the numbers are all composite. Thus for any , we can find consecutive composite numbers. The implication here being that there are arbitrarily large “gaps” between prime numbers.

Deducing prime factors through elimination

I recently found this interesting proof technique that uses a combination of deductive reasoning and integer factorization. The prompt goes something like this: If is prime and for which , then divides .

🎥 Venom (2018)

The “Venom” is an alien symbiote who needs a host to live on earth. Brought to the planet by an evil Elon Musk, he intends to fuck over everybody but then mellows out after finding a suitable host with conveniently gray morals. Clearly wanting the whole planet for himself, he then decides to kill his “team leader” “Riot” to prevent him from bringing his whole species down on the earth.

🎥 Get Smart (2008)

Have you ever wanted to witness Michael Scott actually live out one of his secret spy fantasies (AKA Michael Scarn)? Well you’re in luck. That’s literally what this movie is.

Why I Write Reviews

Over the past few months, I’ve been getting much less time to write reviews about all the books I’ve been reading. I’ve completely stopping watching any new movies given the whole backlog of reviews that I have. Even when I try to force myself to write, I takes some time to get into the groove and much longer to write anything meaningful about a book or a film. I’d also been pondering writing about other things, like my life or thoughts about the random things in life.

📚 Reminiscences of a Stock Operator - Edwin Lefèvre (1923)

Happened to read this book around the peak of the blockchain frenzy. I went in expecting some insight on how stock markets worked, instead what I found was a romanticised recounting of a stock operator. I later found out he killed himself.

🎥 Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

I’m not scared to admit that I watch romantic movies when I am feeling lonely. They make me feel nice, probably because of the vicarious effect it has on me. That’s also probably the primary target demographic, you just make these movies for them and they feel good just seeing them.

🎥 Sleeping With Other People (2015)

Two college mates mate for the first time and then part. Meet twenty years later with all kinds of issues and then try to resolve them with each other’s help and become good friends.

🎥 Andhadhun (2018)

It is not everyday that you see a movie with a real underlying theme executed so well in Bollywood. Andhadhun seems like it approaches one of those.


It was the longest I’d stayed away from home. About ten months had passed since I’d spent any time in Nagpur. Back for a Diwali vacation, I was planning to stay for a week or so.

🎥 Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Marvel’s new rendition of Spiderman is fresher, shorter, younger, freckler, pimpler, funner?, whatever. He swings in the suburbs instead of skyscrapers and attends a high school instead of a college.

🎥 Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

The eighth episode in the Star Wars saga. I went in half excited and half hoping they wouldn’t screw it up. As much as I hate to say it, here goes: I TOLD YOU SO. It is pretty bad, and given that it is Star Wars, you’ll never hear the end of it.

🎥 Green Lantern (2011)

Based on the chlorophyllous Lanterns from the DC comics house, the film was universally panned as a terrible adaptation. There may be a chance that it received a bit too much criticism. Closer evaluation should reveal that it is not much different from other superhero movies of its time. In fact, it does a few common things very differently from others.

🎥 Max Payne (2008)

The name might sound cheesy now, but it always was. Even for a hardboiled detective video game. Unless of course you were the first one, which this one was not even close to. The movie wants you to think it is about guns and epic bullet battles, but don’t let it fool you. It is a step by step how-to of how not to make a detective movie.

🎥 It (2017)

A movie with a weird two letter name, if you know how It works, then you know what’s gonna happen. Based on a book by Stephen King (who is said to have written really great ones). It is also a remake of a movie that originally came out in 1990.

🎥 Badmaash Company (2010)

Movie depicts a bunch of youths who want to become rich for various reasons. They begin smuggling electronics from Thailand before moving on to exploit systemic loopholes in various organizations and social contracts in order to make money illegally.

🎥 Lights Out (2016)

Most horror movies are the same. That’s too little innovation in a field where there is potential for so much more. Beyond traditional jump scares, disfigured humans and plain old gore, there’s not much to reliably scare a large percentage of people.

📚 The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells (1897)

I think almost all sci-fi is social sci-fi because it otherwise would have to be science-fact or simply bullshit. This book can be spotted on almost every bookshelf under the classics section and on every ‘to read’ list you can find. Though I’ve never actually met anybody who has read the book.

📚 A Game of Thrones - G.R.R. Martin (1996)

I began the series after seeing all the seven seasons of the television adaptation. About halfway through I regretted starting the book because I always knew what was going to happen and reading it happen again wasn’t really helping or adding much to the original experience.

🎥 Aparichit (Anniyan) (2005)

I haven’t seen many Tamil movies, translated or otherwise. This one however receives a lot of air time on Hindi movie channels for some reason. While I hadn’t seen it completely in one go, it had an interesting concept given the time it came out. After finally seeing it, I can say it turned out to be far more hilarious and much less thrilling. It might even need a genre reassignment surgery.

🎥 Hardcore Henry (2015)

There comes a time when a man chooses a movie out of pure randomness. I happened upon this movie and chose to watch it merely because of the poster. The flaws in that method were reminded to me much sooner than I’d expected.

🎥 Wonder Woman (2017)

It is becoming a challenge to write a superhero movie review these days. My amateur techniques are already falling apart and it is harder to write distinct reviews for movies that are so similar to each other. I await a time when people get tired of the moribund CGI bling that these films have become.

🎥 Logan (2017)

The much awaited finale to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Logan is an A-rated flick with no holds barred cursing, blood and gore. It feels much closer to Wolverine’s essence than any film before it.

📚 Meet Mr. Mulliner - P.G. Wodehouse (1927)

Angler’s Rest, a pub(-lic house) in London, is the hangout spot of the author and the titular Mr. Mulliner. His stories of all the weird things that happen with his relatives are a source of constant amusement to the author and other patrons. Having always heard people mention that Wodehouse was their favorite English humour, I decided to give it a shot.

📚 The Lean Startup - Eric Ries (2011)

This is the second of the two most recommended readings for anyone doing anything even remotely startup related (the other being Zero to One).

[Event] PyCon India 2017 - New Delhi

This was my third PyCon India, the first two being PyCon India 2015 and 2016. Unlike the last two times, I had planned better and had a full day before and after the conference to spend in New Delhi and check things out.

🎥 Weekend at Bernie's (1989)

I first heard about Weekend at Bernie’s when I found out that Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was inspired by it. I really enjoyed the Indian work and wanted to see if its stimulus was any good.

🎥 Sleeping Beauty (2011)

Intentionally named after the well known children’s tale of a girl who is molested in her sleep. This version is not much different except for the pre-emptive knowledge and monetary exchange after the fact.

🎥 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Touted as the much awaited sequel to the first volume, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 appears with the same circus pack of alien humanoids and similar galactic scale events of destruction.

🎥 Kahaani (2012)

Unlike most bollywood movies, this one begins with a chemical weapon genocide in the Kolkata metro of all places. One is led to believe that the whole plot is going to be about this initial chaos but it soon becomes irrelevant for most part.

🎥 Ardh Satya (1983)

Happened to see this movie in memoriam Om Puri. I was told that this was a really great ‘art’ film ( as opposed to a commercial one). Named after a short poem by Dilip Chitre, it is a cop’s story that depicts his struggle against the corruption of values.

📚 Animal Farm - George Orwell (1945)

While intended as a satire of the Russian revolution, I think this book has far wider applications. It delivers the quintessential communist microcosm in an amazingly crisp but understandable manner.

🎥 The Intern (2015)

It is always fun to see the old boy in a new suit trope in action. This one comes with a retired Robert de Niro in a suite, complete with the gawking faces of onlookers, an workplace romance and him being a champ at his job.. ahem internship.

🎥 Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)

I’ve been told that Farhan Akhtar has a reputation for making movies about rich people. This seems to be a continuation of the trend.

🎥 About Cherry (2012)

How a girl with conventionally good looks enters the adult entertainment industry. It doesn’t work as she’d planned but then at the end everything is okay because her ex-boyfriend is a druggie asshat, she catches her best friend masturbating to her own porn, but then doesn’t understand why he is doing it and finally becomes the lesbian partner of her porn producer/director.

📚 Jaya - Devdutt Pattanaik (2010)

An amalgamation of the various versions of the Mahabharat, consolidated by one Mr. Pattanaik. This version encourages one to achieve inner peace in their life, but portrays how people actually end up doing the completely opposite in their life.

🎥 9 Songs (2004)

As is evident from the poster, the movie is a full sixty-nine minutes of sex and rock-n-roll music. It looks like an art film of sorts, where the focal point is the sexual relationship between a man and a woman and their shared enthusiasm for attending rock music concerts.

📚 The Colour of Magic - Discworld 1 - Terry Pratchett (1983)

Having looked at various recommended reading orders and the litany of books that is Discworld, I am unsure if I will ever be able to read through Sir Pratchett’s legacy. Having decided to at least taste the series, I started with the first book, ‘The Colour of Magic’.

🎥 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

This movie depicts the events that take place parallel to the original 300. The other side of the story where Leonidas’s brother is preparing for war against the forces of Xerxes’s sister.

🎥 Sully (2016)

I had no clue of the events following the mildly amusing news that a plane had successully landed on the Hudson river. It didn’t seem like a big deal back in 2009, partly because it didn’t take place in my home country and otherwise because I am not an aeronautics geek. This movie portrays the investigation that followed the plane crash.

🎥 Boss Baby (2017)

Cute things. This is not Hollywood’s first attempt to pitch two species against each other. There have been quite a lot of movies that try to embattle cats vs dogs, mice vs cats, aliens vs predators; all in an effort to attract cute-chasers. In classic American capitalist fashion, everything in the movie world comes out of a corporation. And this movie becomes the story of BabyCorp vs PuppyCo.

🎥 Life (2017)

Survival Horror. The genre that doesn’t need a story. All you need to do is bring a cast of big names on board and kill them one by one. Where how great a movie is, is defined by the most creative way the director can come up to kill a beloved actor and his career.

📚 Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki (1997)

This book made a lot of waves back in 2000 when it came out. People were recommending it left and right. Most of what the book claims makes sense and is probably common knowledge in certain circles.

📚 Zero to One - Peter Thiel (2014)

I started reading this book after having already attempted ( what felt like) a startup and working in a new one right now. The best way to keep up with this book is constant mental questions and thinking about how you’ve been thinking before. An good exercise is to evaluate your own experience or companies that you’ve seen closely as you read through the various ideas presented in this book.

📚 Sultan - Mahesh Elkunchwar (1989)

This is a collection of one act plays; another recommendation from my Mother as a nice way to get used to Elkunchwar’s style. The book is named after the first play and the name seems unrelated to the remaining ones.

🎥 Bajirao Mastani (2015)

This is another Sanjay Leela Bhansali flick that I managed to pull through (the other being Ramleela).

🎥 Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Another day, another Marvel movie. This one is no different with its plot if you leave the setting alone. Funny in a formulaic way, it manages to keep you entertained with its trademark spectacles.

📚 Ranga Half-Pants - Suman Kumar (2016)

The book’s name and cover led me into believing that it was about how Ranga got his full-pants but that’s only half the book. You have to read the synposis to find out about the other half, which is a different tale set in the same village.

🎥 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

I’d expected the movie to portray how the namesake book came about in the Wizarding World: a jolly adventure through ‘murica messing around with fantastic animals. But it soon becomes a lengthy detour back to the ‘dark side’ of the wizarding world.

Thunderbird Mail Merge addon Quirks

Just decided to put this out there and save an hour for anybody trying to figure out why the Mail Merge addon won’t work for them.

🎥 The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

Once released, the ingenious trailer sparked quite a few interesting reactions. My mother, an animal lover basically kept enquiring throughout the year of whether the movie had released. The teaser promised a different perspective on an otherwise unsuspecting concept.

🎥 Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

The first movie in the Hitman franchise was bad enough to also make it the last. As a fan of the Hitman series of games, I can say that it did not capture any of the Hitman ‘essence’ and also failed at being a good action movie. Naturally, I was quite surprised when they announced another Hitman movie. I hoped that they would do good on atleast one of the fronts and get things right this time.

🎥 Inferno (2016)

The name Inferno and the fact that Dan Brown is involved should be enough to tell you that the movie is about Dante. I am tempted to think that Dan Brown is becoming greedy or being coaxed by his publishers or employing ghost writers, because of the lack of experimentation in the Langdon recipe.

📚 One Thousand Days in a Refrigerator: Stories - Manoj Kumar Panda (2016)

We’ve been told to not judge a book by its cover. I, for some reason, always took it in the sense that one shouldn’t think a book is bad because of its cover. Never had I ever seen a bad book with a good cover. Well, there’s always a first time.

🎥 Doctor Strange (2016)

This movie reminds me of Ant-Man, a different take on the superhero. It is very clearly a Marvel film and also quite unlike one. You have all the familiar trademarks including the predictable but funny jokes, the disposable villians to support the origin story, a genius but sassy protagonist and of course a post credits scene. But it also comes with a fairly new visual style, less romance and the supposed attraction of casting Benedict Cumberbatch.

📚 Why I Am Not a Hindu - Kancha Ilaiah (1996)

For the uninitiated, this can be a very eye-opening read. For others, it is an amusing treatment that spends quite some time establishing theories. I belong to the former category and I concede that this book made me look more closely at the caste system in India; something that I’d managed to ignore for quite some time now.

🎥 Happy Bhag Jayegi (2016)

Happy is a go-lucky girl, whose escapist habits result in a botched wedding and her ending up in Pakistan. She literally bolts out of awkward situations with express disregard to the outcome, which is abundantly taunted in the film.

🎥 You've Got Mail (1998)

You’ve got mail is basically “Love in the time when email was vogue”. It is set in the period when email and Instant Messaging (IM) had just entered the general public’s usage and were common enough that most people would get it without much explanation.

🎥 Groundhog Day (1993)

A movie with an amusing premise where a TV meteorologist Phil Connors, keeps reliving literally the same day again and again indefinitely. The general idea has probably been abused by, inspired and influenced quite a few other films since its release.

🎥 Back to the Future II (1989)

As a sequel to a really well done movie and given the 4 years of waiting, this one probably had a lot of fans and stakeholders to satisfy. I presume that it was probably a much harder problem to solve because unlike the previous movie, the filmmakers didn’t have any reference to work with. They have no idea of how the future turns out and are going to rely entirely on the predictions of the writers.

📚 Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams (1982)

The third installment in the series, Life, the Universe and Everything continues the pan-universal adventure of one earthman Arthur Dent. As bizzare and british as its predecessors it tries to resolve Arthur’s search for the question to the answer of The Life, Universe and Everything else.

🎥 Back to the Future (1985)

This movie is often listed as one of the best time travel movies. I’d watched this movie in bits and pieces before but never as a whole. The movie is as they say, light, and can act as a decent introduction to the concept of time travel.

📚 वनवास - प्रकाश नारायण संत (1994)

This is the first real Marathi book that I’ve read. It discusses the childhood village life of लंपन, a character that represents the author’s childhood self.

🎥 YZ (2016)

Gajanan is a 33 year old teacher who has self-esteem issues. Things take a turn when he meets one of his unnaturally confident students who runs by the name of बत्तीस (32). The movie is named after “YZ”, a पुणेरी slang word. However it puts a different spin on the idea and has its own philosophy on what exactly a YZ attitude is.

🎥 Dirty Grandpa (2016)

Essentially a barrage of dirty jokes first from Robert de Niro and then from the rest of the cast.

🎥 Suicide Squad (2016)

Suicide Squad is a menagerie of not-so-covert convicted criminals, who have been tamed to fight other criminals because it is such a good idea. It runs on the belief that two wrongs can make a right. A character literally says that defeating the villain will remove 10 years off their sentences. The movie takes place after Superman is (not?) dead and Batman is in the process of forming Justice League.

🎥 Zootopia (2016)

On the cover, Zootopia may appear to be a lazy play of words, a rehashed cobbling of a buddy cop story with added anthropomorphic animals; all the makings of an average film. In reality, it is all that along with an intelligently written satire with pop culture references that keeps both the kids and grownups engaged throughout the film.

🎥 Udta Punjab (2016)

Regardless of whether people like or hate this movie, it is different from the usual fare you’ll find in Bollywood. As may not be readily apparent from the title, the movie is about the problem of rampant drug addiction in the Indian state of Punjab. It is a well known fact that it is a systemic problem; one that cannot be fixed overnight or through the efforts of a few individuals. The movie depicts three sets of people who have encountered drug problems in various ways and how their stories converge in a disturbing fashion.

🎥 John Wick (2014)

Retired hitman John Wick receives a dog from his dying wife as a final gesture to help him cope with her death. His mourning is cut short when he crosses paths with the local kingpin Viggo Tarasov’s son, who breaks into his house, kills the dog and steals his car. Obviously this isn’t taken lightly by Mr Wick and the bloody quest to exact revenge is on.

🎥 Spotlight (2015)

I don’t know what these kinds of movies are called but they sure do make investigative journalism look like an intriguing job. The last movie in this genre that I’d seen was The Insider and this one is equally shocking and bound to attract regular gasps from the audience. The movie portrays the Boston Globe’s Spotlight journalist team’s investigation into the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston.

🎥 Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man has the unconventional superpower of being able to shrink in size and grow back on demand; and the ability to control real ants. With a modest attempt at a scientific explanation, the movie runs with what it has and delivers a comic superhero capable of making the audience sympathize with the death of a single ant.

📺 [TV] Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016)

Having seen the first three seasons I was expecting more abuse of the mind palace, even more unbelievable cases and more of Moriarty. Turns out I was right.

🎥 Masaan (2015)

This is one of those films that begins with a major bait and then slowly reels-in the audience. It begins with a suicide and seems like it is setting up for one of those well publicised murder/suicide trials and the shock value that comes with it.

🎥 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Romantic comedy plots have a tendency to be highly predictable and this one is no exception. I suppose there’s a really fine line between a romantic comedy and a romantic cringey.

🎥 X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

This is probably going to be the last comic book movie I watch without proper pre-evaluation. There is literally nothing new in the movie. Bland would be an understatement.

🎥 Captain America: Civil War (2016)

I haven’t read any of the comic books and so am not a fan of the Avengers. I can’t help but compare this movie to Batman v Superman. Both movies were released roughly at the same time and deal with the problem of collateral damage and the accountability of superheroes.

📚 The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand (1943)

It is almost impossible to have not heard enthusiastic mentions of The Fountainhead before you start it. Consequently it is also impossible to have not formed a notion of how the book might be. This plays both for and against the book’s experience.

🎥 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

The central theme of this movie is the idea of an immortal God versus the intelligent human. It should be evident that Superman is the ‘God’ while the mortal Batman is the ‘man’.

🎥 Penguins of Madagascar (2014)

This is the kind of movie that you’d expect the bean counters at Disney to readily fund given that the public adores the cute penguins. I did not have a lot of expectations from this film but the trailer looked interesting enough to make me sit through and bear what they came up with.

🎥 Big Hero 6 (2014)

Even though the movie is called ‘Big Hero 6’, the story is about a 14 year old Hiro and his brother’s cute and lovable healthcare robot: Baymax. The remaining time is unevenly distributed between the other four members of the team.

🎥 The Revenant (2015)

A movie about how a man comes back from a near death experience and exacts revenge on his deserter for killing his son. Stunning visuals and superb acting are the major facets of this movie. But I think there’s more to it than meets the eye.

A Note on Web Middlewares

The word Middleware is an ambiguous term that means different things to different people. We’ll try to find out what ‘Middleware’ means in commonly used frameworks and platforms for web development and how they are implemented.

🎥 Deadpool (2016)

This is a superhero movie about one Wade Wilson, who’s alter ego is Deadpool. Also known as the merc-with-a-mouth he is known for being absurdly immortal, funny and unconventional.

🎥 The Hateful Eight (2015)

This is Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film. He describes the film as: “Just a bunch of nefarious guys in a room, all telling backstories that may or may not be true. Trap those guys together in a room with a blizzard outside, give them guns, and see what happens.” And trust me; that’s exactly what happens. Things are bound to get nasty.

🎥 Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

I am not a major Star Wars fan, but I had seen all of the first six movies in the order they were released. I had enjoyed most of them and was curious to see what new stuff Disney could put out. The Force Awakens takes place about 30 years after the events of the Return of the Jedi and all of the returning actors show their age. I’ll admit that I haven’t read the literature and other lore, and will be basing this review purely on the movies without taking into account all the fan fiction and even the books that are considered canon.

🎥 Children of Men (2006)

This is a gem of a sci-fi movie released in 2006 and takes place in the year 2027 where the world is struggling with mass infertility and no new child has been born for 18 years in the whole world. The United Kingdom is the last functioning government on the planet and is actively oppressing immigrants and refugees. The film depicts how society crumbles as it helplessly tries to deal with its own extinction.

📚 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)

Bravo! That’s all I have to say to Rowling. A fitting ending to a fantastic series. This is one of the few books that has maintained its quality consistently throughout the series making for a very entertaining read.

🎥 Spectre (2015)

James Bond, the spy with a license to kill is back with his effortless charm and worldly vices. As an anachronistic spy, operating on intuition, trashing costly tech and discarding useful intel: James Bond is dead on arrival. Running blindly into the field is something that no spy worth his money would do.

🎥 Thor: The Dark World (2013)

The second Thor movie that takes place after the events of The Avengers appears to be a pure milking scheme for Marvel Studios and friends. Thor must save his mortal girlfriend Jane Foster from the aether that she’s mistakenly infused herself with. This aether is the most powerful weapon in the nine realms and used by the Dark Elves to convert matter to dark matter.

📚 Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn (2012)

Marriage. That’s what this book is about. Long term relationships between a husband and a wife. Nick Dunne and Amy Elliot are a couple in Missouri and Amy is missing. Nick is the prime suspect. Shit has finally hit the fans on a stale five year old marriage and no one has a single clue about what is going on.

🎥 Sicario (2015)

This is a movie about the drug cartels that operate around the Mexico-USA border near Texas and Arizona. Primarily an USA centric film, it tries to depict the struggles faced and tactics used by various government agencies such as the CIA and the FBI when dealing with the drug cartels. Sicario in español translates to ‘hitman’. It is however never clear who the hitman actually is, till halfway in the movie.

📚 Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian (2012)

This is the last book in the series of eight and Eoin Colfer has promised to conclude the Artemis Fowl saga. I was quite excited when I heard that the serie had finally ended. This has been one of my favorite series and I have been hooked since the first book.

🎥 The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2013)

This is a movie adaptation of the book ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower ( 1999)”. It is about high school, coming-of-age and finding what you love in the process.

🎥 The Insider (1999)

The movie is based on real life events involving tobacco whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand’s controversial 60 Minutes interview about Brown and Williamson’s tobacco manufacturing malpractices.

📚 The Demon-Haunted World - Carl Sagan

An excellent book for people who were recently introduced to skeptical thinking and want to understand the idea further.

🎥 Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation

If mindless henchman bumping, aged Scientology believers performing average stunts coupled with eyebrow raising twists are your cup of tea then you’re going to like this movie. Ethan Hunt is on a mission to prevent the rogue Syndicate programme from taking control of $2.5 Billion in untraceable funds around the globe.

🎥 The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

This is a tongue-in-cheek story of the concierge and lobby boy of The Grand Budapest Hotel as narrated to an author.

🎥 Psycho (1960)

I’d first heard of Psycho when I read that there was a tribute to it in Pulp Fiction. This is also supposed to be Hitchcock’s most acclaimed movie.

🎥 Rear Window (1954)

This movie has a very interesting plot where professional photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries is confined to his apartment due to a broken leg. To pass time, he takes to peeping into the lives of his various neighbors through his rear window.

🎥 Taken (2008)

I’d heard a lot of good things about this movie. I happened to watch it on TV even though that is not my preferred medium. The movie is quite short as Bryan Mills must rescue his daughter within a 96 hour window.

Notes on the Rating System

I wanted to record a few thoughts on the rating system that I am using for movies and books.

🎥 The Imitation Game (2014)

This movie is a historically inaccurate account of Turing and how he cracked the Enigma.

🎥 Yes Man (2008)

A man is so set in his ways that nothing new happens for him. He then chances upon a weird programme that requires followers to answer ‘Yes’ to any question/favour asked of them.

🎥 Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Another day, another Hitchcock movie. I intend to slowly wade through all of them. This one is a supposed thriller where an American reporter is assigned as the foreign correspondent in Europe to cover the events that lead up to a fictionalised World War II.

🎥 Terminator: Genisys (2015)

You’re not going to be able to follow this movie till you’ve seen the first two terminator movies. Since this movie spends most of its time rewriting the stories from the first two movies you should go do it.

🎥 Spy (2015)

A run of the mill spy movie where a support agent is moved on field after her partner is presumed dead. She performs daring stunts which are obviously not possible for people of her size and this is supposed to be funny to the audience.

🎥 The Conjuring (2013)

One of the few horror movies that I ended up watching in the past few years. It is mostly like any other horror movie where a family moves into a new home which unbeknown to them is haunted. As time passes the haunting becomes obvious and they decide to take help.

🎥 Dial M for Murder (1954)

This was my third Hitchcock movie after Vertigo and The Birds. Was only able to really follow it till the intermission. Beyond that things started to get confusing. But I think that’s mostly because it was 0400 in the morning. Things got especially confusing when multiple keys to different locks were introduced. Wouldn’t mind seeing the movie again to get a better idea.

🎥 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

I had only seen glimpses of the original Mad Max movies on TV. The post apocalyptic setting never particularly interested me. I still ended up in the theatre when Fury Road was released.

📚 The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)

I’ve not seen the movies. I’ve not read the Lord of the Rings ( yet). This book is Bilbo’s story of how he finds the ring and helps Thorin and Company take back the Lonely Mountain.

📚 The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga (2008)

This is an interesting book. It presents a different kind of entrepreneurship. One that requires a person to kill, bribe and lie through their way in the system in order to be successful. One where people are denied their chance to succeed in the world due to various societal factors.

Dhanalakshmi Port? Bug or Easter Egg?

Recently when I was writing a PostgreSQL app, I took a look at lsof‘s output to look at the number of active database connections and I saw something weird:

Making Peanut/Jaggery Laddoos

The process is quite easy:

Fvwm Explained

The earlier post about my Fvwm Desktop was a fairly short one. In this second part I try to explain some parts of that configuration file. I have also made some changes to my desktop to make it more usable.

Designing a UI for the Elderly

My grandfather is an 83 year old fellow. He has no computer experience whatsoever, but wanted to learn computers for day to day tasks such as Email and Facebook. I decided that I wanted to keep the interface simple and hassle free. Fvwm seemed to be the best option to design a UI that would be easy to learn and use and without any clutter. All of the UI contains operations that can be carried out with a single mouse button to reduce complexity.

Cleaning that old faithful keyboard

I recently obtained a TVS Gold Mechanical Keyboard with Mechanical Cherry MX Blue Key switches that go ‘Click’. I had to retire my old Logitech Desktop keyboard, which still functioned perfectly even after 7 years of no cleaning whatsoever. I decided that it at least deserved a wash before I packed it away. The keyboard was caked with years of dust, food, dirt, hair etc.

5 Minute WordPress Migration

I wanted to migrate this very blog to my other server. A 15 Minute job that I had been delaying for the past 3 Months. I finally decided to do it today. The migration is as quick and simple as WordPress’s popular 5 minute installation.

My FVWM2 Desktop!

After getting tired of Unity and the extra Compiz Effects fighting with each other, I decided to try some other desktop environments. I had used fvwm2 earlier but never realized its power until now.