June 23rd, 2016


Movie Critique 2016 – 04/01/2016: Inside Man

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: A well-planned heist movies that will leave you watching at the edge of your seat.

Inside Man is another of those bank heist movies coming under the category of crime thriller released in 2006. I saw this movie for the first time on Netflix. Usually movies involving heists are of my interest, but this movie captured me for two reasons - introduction of the movie and the opening credits - before the actual plot. Here is my take on the movie.

Dalton Russell (portrayed by Clive Owen) opens the movie with the following lines as a monologue:
My name is Dalton Russell. Pay strict attention to what I say because I choose my words carefully and I never repeat myself. I've told you my name: that's the Who. The Where could most readily be described as a prison cell. But there's a vast difference between being stuck in a tiny cell and being in prison. The What is easy: recently I planned and set in motion events to execute the perfect bank robbery. That's also the When. As for the Why: beyond the obvious financial motivation, it's exceedingly simple... because I can. Which leaves us only with the How; and therein, as the Bard would tell us, lies the rub.

That, my dear wise patrons, is one hell of an opening that will bring everyone's attention to nothing else but the movie. Sure, don’t you want to know "the How" in this heist? I sure would do. :)

Second, the opening credits - who will not move and groove to the amazing tunes composed by A. R. Rahman? Indeed, the song Chaiyya Chaiyya from the 1998 hit Hindi film Dil Se (  = From The Heart). Certainly added beats to the plans of Dalton Russell.

Now the entire plot devised by Russell is very simple, but the way he executes it makes it look very complicated. Drives the minds of Detectives Keith Frazier (portrayed by Denzel Washington) and Bill Mitchell (portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor) crazy when they are trying to get into Russell's mind. Well, we have to give points to Russell here - having all the robbers call each other by variations of "Steve", forcing the hostages to undress and wear jumpsuits and masks similar to what the robbers wore - definitely worth lots of points.

The movie continues to show how Russell outsmarts the cops, robs the bank and walks out without any damages - people or property - leaving the cops and everyone dazed. It also follows Frazier and his mind that is always reading Russell's mind and anticipating his next step so he can be one up than Russell. A sub-plot follows the Arthur Case (portrayed by Christopher Plummer) who is the chairman of the board of directors and founder of the bank that Russell was robbing. What is that Case hiding from the world? Why is Russell targeting Case? What is the end motive behind the heist for Russell and his gang? Will Frazier get closer to catch him? Solve the crime? Watch the movie to get the answers and enjoy the heist.

One sore point was Jodie Foster. Nothing against her but never understood why her role was introduced. That part of the plot could be executed without having the role of Madeleine White (Foster) in the movie. It still would have made sense.

Thoroughly enjoyable movie with unexpected twists and unanticipated turns. Don’t miss the ending at any cost - all the crux of the movie lies there. Of course the closing credits again with a remix version of Chaiyya Chaiyya from 1998 hit Hindi film Dil Se composed by A. R. Rahman.

Book Critique 2016 – 04/02/2016: Dangerous Tides (Drake Sisters Novels #4)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For the review of all the books in the series: Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: If you believe that there is more than to everyone that involves with connection to elements of nature and human, then this is the series I recommend you pick.

Drake Sisters Novels are the first series in the Sea Haven Novels by Christine Feehan. Dangerous Tides is the fourth installment of Drake Sisters Novels published in June of 2006. This time around the story revolves around Libby Drake - the fourth sister with the magic of healing at times bring forth someone/something to life that has almost touched the hands of death - and Tyson Derrick - an adventurist, a brainiac with a Nobel Prize in medicine, a biochemist and part of the Helicopter Rescue Team in Sea Haven.

Drake Sisters are seven sisters who are intertwined with each other and possess magical abilities to control not only elements of earth, water, fire and wind but also have psychic abilities. It is prophesied that when the locked gate of their family home opens to a stranger, he would be the true love of the oldest sister. And the rest of them follow tying themselves to the remaining sisters. Each of the sister is powerful in their own ways but the seventh sister, the youngest of all, not only most powerful but also bears the greatest gift of bearing the next generation of seven sisters. Like all powers come with a cost, so does the same for these sisters. It may not be a cost but each of them have to face the challenge that comes with their powers and overcome it as one unit - all the while finding (or escaping in some sisters' case) their true love.

Libby Drake is born with the abilities to heal and naturally she becomes a doctor saving people's lives everywhere along with various other save causes like the Whales, Big Cats Rescue, Environment, Forests and many other. As she had healed quite a few and some she bought time so they could stay a while, her name had been dragged by reporters in all kind of articles quoting her as a "miracle worker" or "faith healer", etc. much to her or her families liking.

Tyson Derrick, the resident famous and rich biochemist had on and off run-ins with Libby Drake that made her his center of attention as well. However, this was more elemental, sexual and involving body, mind and soul for him. However, he never expected that he would see Libby again in the most unfortunate situation he was in. While rescuing Drew Madison for a suicide attempt he does falling over the cliff, Ty's safety harness breaks and he falls down onto the lower jagged cliffs breaking his body into pieces. Libby sees him in the hospital and without her intention she ends up performing a huge healing session - where she takes on the injuries of Ty on herself.

This incident and the stories already in the tabloids made her the target of Edward Martinelli's undue attention. Martinelli although has a big name in pharmaceuticals, he has close ties with crime family out of Chicago. Libby although shrugged off that, she ends up having Martinelli's men on her tailing urging/threatening/forcing her to meet with their boss and do test trials.

That's not all there is to it. Someone is trying to kill Ty and also Libby. In the process Jonas gets harmed. Who is behind the shooting of Jonas? Did Ty's safety harness really break or was it a sabotage? Who is out there who is trying to harm Libby? For what reason? Why did Drew try to commit suicide? Who is throwing all the malevolent feelings towards Libby? What does Martinelli need from Libby? Read through to find out how Libby and Ty wade through all the hurdles with the help of Libby's sisters, their fiancées and the townsfolk how they find answers to all questions and finally find each other.

Another master spin by Christine Feehan involving basic human emotions such as jealousy, love, hatred and happiness woven with elements of danger, intrigue, mystery and magic. We get to see the world of pharmaceuticals and the scams around the test trials of new drugs and struggles of one good scientist fighting against all odds to get a fully functional drug out. Go for it not only to read the next in the series but also for the mystique behind the plot. Enjoy!!!

Spoiler Alert: Finally Its Hannah Drake after all that Jonas Harrington is tied to. We get to see their romance other than battle of words and wits this time around in this book.