Spectre is a storm of action after the relatively sedate and dark Skyfall.
It has been made as per a formula scenario–Number of –cars sunk; bullets fired; women bedded; castles/labs in desert/ snowscapes; martinis shaken; gadgets with bombs exploded; villains with strange disfigurations and rockets/planes fired into oblivion. Chase through crowded market in cars/scooter/autos or rickshaws and descending hundreds of stairs on wheels during it. One sea shot of a woman emerging or Bond submerging.
The smart quips are lacking or perhaps missed in all that noise in a surround sound cinema.
To tell you honestly Spectre looks like a copy of a Hindi action movie which was actually a copy of many Bond movies and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. rolled into one.
The beginning of the movie set up in Mexico reminded me of the beautiful beginning of the book Mexico Set by Len Deighton. In Spectre the initial chase of Bond after Sciara is laced through the parade of El Dia de Muertos festival which celebrates the dead ominously.
The brand Daniel Craig has become almost as powerful as Sean Connery in the selling of James Bond.
Spectre is a relentless rollercoaster ride of action. Perhaps I would have yelled to please let me off. Christoph Waltz without a beard, I found as threatening as a pussy cat. The ending scene with Blofeld missing one eye was rather laughable (ain’t we seen The Terminator).
The Emperor’s New Clothes
The damn thing is who will tell this Spectre movie that it is walking around naked like the fabled Emperor. Bond I am afraid is naked in this one. The bottle is delightful but the whisky inside is rather a raw spirit.
Monica Bellucci poor lady was taken out of wraps to display her creased and sagging looks in merciless close-ups.
I have seen Lea Seydoux in The Grand Budapest Hotel and Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol but I fell in love with her sleepy looks in Spectre.
London City Hall is used as a setting for the Centre for National Security in the movie. I suspect it may have been used earlier by a Bollywood movie too as the den of the villain.
Overall a great opportunity to have a large tub of popcorn with a big coke and perhaps ear plugs would be a welcome accessory.
Like it but still can’t figure out why? Love the new Moneypenny (Naomie Harris introduced thus in Skyfall).
The book Life after Life opens a time-warp into England during the Second World War. The author Kate Atkinson weaves a dreamlike story of Ursula, who dies several times but the author opts to resurrect her again and again, Life after Life. It is beautifully done. Finishing the book, I felt reluctant to leave the world of Ursula her mother Sylvie and sister Pamela. This book is a time machine that bounces even into the private life of Eva and Hitler.
Perhaps this is the best novel about London during the Blitzkrieg.
One has to be patient with good books. Most of them take about 70 pages to create a certain ambience and cast of characters. I got glued to the web of characters in Life after Life somewhere near hundred pages. That is them moment when one really looks at the back cover to read more about the author.
I am cowering now with Ursula in the ruins of a building in London during the night time incessant bombing.
As a writer I feel like a tiny dog perhaps like Jock. I want to bark a good story and run and run around Kate in circles yapping my praise mixed with jealous anger—‘How can you have so much talent?—while we here are eating cake in our literary poverty.
I have also decided that in future any book that I read will henceforth be defaced by me on the last empty blank page with tiny details of the characters as in plays’ cast of characters. That way I will not get lost as I did in A Thousand Years of Solitude with the Antonias and the Buendias.
Sylvie—mother of Ursula.
Hugh – Father of Ursula
Teddy – Ursula’s brother
Izzie – Hugh’s sister.
This listing will make life so much easier while reading great complicated books.
After finishing the book I feel as Kate Atkinson—about the book, ‘everything was ephemeral, yet everything was eternal.’ The book is so English. Kate has the secret map to a treasure of good writing. I am just like the cowboy in the posse who gets shot off his horse right in the beginning. Kate gallops ahead and reaches the gold mine.
Here I am sitting shot and propped up perhaps against a cactus in the desert pulling needles out of my butt as far as I can reach back. The realization of one’s own incompetence is so painful.
‘The Economist is an upbeat magazine covering all subjects possible on our beautiful Earth,’ I said this to my daughter who had left a copy of this London based magazine on my table. Perhaps she thought it was a hint. Lo and behold fifteen days later there was a glossy copy of The Economist in my mail-box wrapped in a see-through plastic envelope with my name as the addressee.
I was delighted. This really was what I needed. The latest news with an intelligent angle. The magazine they say is targeted at highly educated readers. I felt proud to be highly educated. I imagined the editorial staff toiling away burning the midnight oil for my benefit. I read the magazine from the cover to the last page. I started quoting The Economist to my friends at our evening coffee meetings. I stopped watching television. My wife was intrigued to say the least. She picked up a copy of The Economist and gave it the once over. Anything that could take me away from the TV had to be admired.
Sad to say reading The Economist became an obsession. My work began to suffer. I stopped going to the office because if I did not read the copy of The Economist a new one would arrive in the mailbox while I was only half done. A backlog began to occur. One, two, three, four, five. I had now five pending magazine issues to read. I stayed up late at night. I woke up early. Still my reading lagged behind. I took a sabbatical to finish my backlog. Alas it cannot be done. Either you stay ahead of the information or you will fall far behind.
My wife took pity on me and started handing the arriving copies of the magazine to the local library. Finally I was up to date. I passed by the library and saw a lot of men hunched over their free copies of The Economist. I had to smirk.
Finally I had to say it out loud in an Old Testament way, ‘No I am not highly educated, please God help me.’ Since that day I can look the Economist in the eye and read only stuff that arouses my curiosity. The Economist stares back with its 172 years of printed erudition. It was established in 1843 in London by businessman James Wilson. It has always been a democratic supporter of people fighting unfair laws. It has been a long time opponent of unfair laws on same sex marriages. Its editorial stance has been ably defined thus, it “is not a chronicle of economics.” Rather, it aims “to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress”. I can shake it because I have already tried it but this magazine has a dedicated readership of 1.5 million people and it makes a profit. That is no mean thing in today’s Rota of failing magazines. I treat my The Economist with respect but my wife has put an end to our affair. We are now just friends.
After dinner Kajri spread three colourful durrees on the ground and soon everyone was lying down on these. Kaali and Sona watched the progress of the moon in the sky and fell asleep counting the bright stars that peeped from behind the black clouds. Thankfully it did not rain during the night and everyone had a good night’s sleep.
In the morning the three of them shared some of the rotis left from the night before and ate with a chili pickle. Sona got the hiccups after the first bite but Kaali loved this new kind of breakfast. Soon they were on their way to the fair again. It was in the afternoon that they had to leave the camel track and come back on the highway. The fear of Heera returned and so did the noise and dust of the city. Kaali and Sona did not notice the noise or the dust. They loved the new sights. The big colorful buses, the black and yellow taxis and the crowds of jostling people.
At last they reached the big ground where the fair was being held. Kajri gave them five rupees each and asked them to spend on anything they liked. Both of them went jumping around the colorful stalls.
We are the victims of our times. We are target practice for the miracle of information technology. Unconsciously we fill up our mental suitcase with bias and hate instead of love. This unnecessary stuff has packed our brain till it is bursting at the seams. Most of us are able to carry on with our lives though burdened with these anxiety causing bits of information but some lash out like the meat cleaver wielding Londoner.
Once religion was the answer but now it is the reason for world disarray. Our mental suitcase bursts forth in anger and greed at the baggage check in of daily life. It is time to de-clutter and regain our innocence. It is time to travel light. It is time to dance like a butterfly instead of stinging like a bee.