Sunday, November 21, 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife - Breathing in the third dimension

Raise your right hand and repeat after me. "Resident Evil is a movie made from a game. I know this is not a movie like Matrix. I will expect neither story nor logic for the next 97 minutes. I will purely enjoy the action and special effects which ever is thrown at me. ALICE."

Good. Now you are all set to enjoy the fourth installment of Resident Evil film which is based on Resident Evil games series. As I have not played the game series, I will not comment on how much it lives up to the game fans. Instead, as a viewer of all the previous movies and a fan of Part 1, I can assure you that Afterlife is really awesome. If the second and third parts had lowered your interest in Resident Evil, think again. They have done it right this time. The main reason I can say that is because of the 3D. As published in the trailers, they have used James Cameron's Fusion Camera System which he used in Avatar and the results are awesome. Though you might feel that they have overdone it to show everything in 3D, I actually liked it. Especially the rain which is shown so many times in the movie.
Coming to the story, it keeps you guessing all the time. Don't take it as suspense. It is the director's indecision on how to take his characters ahead.
While the ending of the previous film (Extinction) promised a war with army of cloned ALICEs, you are given little treatment of it. Instead, few other characters emerge and few new monsters show up to bite you. And whatever characters included in the movie both recurring and new have nothing more to do than shoot, kill and die. Ali Carter as Claire is good to watch fighting the Executioner. But I knew I cannot expect more as ALICE as the protagonist have to face the camera and say "I am gonna kill you" every 5 minutes. Sometimes, it even reminded me of Viay.
After a series of gun fights and monster kills in "Left 4 Dead" style and even a dog crossed with Alien, you feel very much satisfied with this movie. Only regret is that they could have made more Executioners. Loved the gigantic axe yielding monster very much. May be we will find more in the sequel (of course, it is a never ending franchise) as Afterlife ends with Jill leading an assault fleet in control of the Evil Umbrella Corporation.

Overall, a movie other than Avatar to have lived up (sometimes better) to the 3D experience.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lets put a smile on that face

It surprises me to think that less than a millimeter thickness is all that is different between sharp and the blunt edge of a knife. In general, knife or a dagger is a beautiful invention of human kind. It acts as the creator as well as the destroyer depending upon who yields it. Even as a kid, I always like to play with knifes. A swift cut on the carrot slicing it neatly into two is a favorite pass time of mine. That is why I was a good kid always ready to help my mom in the kitchen with cutting and dicing the vegetables. And that is why my skills in cooking ends with cutting the vegetables. I am glad my mom restricted my chores to cutting only vegetables and fruits, for if I was given the honor to cutting the meat pieces as a kid, a slasher movie named “INJEY hostel” would be made will be a small exaggeration only.
A lover of Kill Bill, but calm at heart I channeled my cutting skills to aesthetic purposes like vegetable and fruit carving. I started creating wedged tomatoes and guavas, onion rings and served watermelon as balls instead of slices. The art of road side cucumber sellers in making flower style cuts on a single cucumber dividing them into two and each looking as if it is a whole cucumber astonished me greatly. Even if you call it as just cheating, I call it artfully cheating. And for the petty money they make, I do not complain them.
While my largest passion and career choice (computers) called for cut, copy and paste, I did not enjoy it as much as cutting vegetables (NOTE: I meant cut,copy and paste only). After landing in US, my eyes dropped on cutting only one object and every October I felt very close to reaching it. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was not shared by others around me and I had to wait 3 years before getting the chance finally. And so this year, I finally bought my first pumpkin to carve. It was not without many hurdles and “NO” that I had to fight hard to get the small sized pumpkin. Chini’s argument was that it is a Christian festival. I went “huh?”. After heavy persuasive discussions and threatening that I will not eat pumpkin forever and finally after getting the support of Tommy boy’s girl (who was equally opposed by Tommy boy), I got the one that I was longing for a long time.
The day of carving did not come early though as the auspicious date and time to cut a pumpkin was not found in the calendar and we had to wait a week since getting the pumpkin. So it stood smiling for a week with sharp teeth and Rajini’s hair that I had drawn on it. And one good sunday, the time did come and with little help from youtube, we started to give new face for our orange friend. And it definitely was a wonderful experience right from cutting the scalp and scooping out of the juicy and sticky pulp inside. [Warning: Please do not imagine human head for a pumpkin. The things we are going to do will make you throw up.] When we could not clean the inside with the ice cream scoop which finally was broken by over-enthusiastic Tommy boy, we had to use the hands. This is where Chini did a wonderful job and cleaned all the long thin fibers sticking out of the inner wall. And Tom had cleaned it very much that it was as smooth as the inside of a skull.
With the pulp out, now it is time for serious carving. We did not have to sketch the eyes for our pumpkin as we had drawn it earlier. I pressed the knife edge over the left eye and pushed it slowly to keep the hole small. After three simple cuts, a triangular piece feel off from the face what was an eye before. More care was taken when removing the right eye as we did not want the pumpkin to end with squint eyes. This was more tough for tom, as they are carving the eyes for the first time. Coming down to the mouth which really is the toughest part of all as any mistake in that will make the pumpkin toothless. With multiple styles replaced we went for the regular 3 teeth on top and bottom and Chini took on the task as she considers teeth to be precious. Believe me when I say it for I try hard every day to find a way to escape from multi-time brushing of teeth daily. After long careful cuts and small adjustments on the left and right making the mouth wide more open than planned, the pumpkin was finally done.
We did wash it with water and polished its face with Crisco Vegetable oil. Imagining it now, it is like wiping the face with your own blood. I am feeling guilty for being so cruel. And finally to complete celebration, we lit up a candle inside and saw the bright light out of the open eyes and mouth and also the small nose we pierced in the end. And there it was. Our Pumpkin shining for the Halloween celebration boo-ing away the ghosts and burning more than we wanted as the candle fire ignited the oil lining on the inside of the pumpkin.