Friday, January 26, 2018

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

I just hate it when time plays spoilsport.
So now, instead of the long rant that I had planned to unleash upon the unsuspecting audience (which I still will, but only in a few days) I am having to console myself by merely giving a rating to this book that I finished reading yesterday.
However, the out-of-the-box thinking chap that the author is, it would be most unfair if I rated his book using anything but an out-of-the-box rating scale wherein I refrain from comparing his book, to books written by other authors who are, well, not-Rushdie and by that definition simply NOT presentable on the same rating scale that Rushdie's books can be rated using.
As a consequence, I have no choice but to present my verdict in the following manner:
On a scale of Grimus to Shalimar the Clown, Grimus being the lowest rating assignable followed- in that order- by Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Enchantress of Florence, Fury, The Moor's Last Sigh, Midnight's Children, Shame and then Shalimar the Clown; with Shalimar of course being the highest rating possible, Two Years Eight Months & Twenty-Eight Nights, in my humble opinion, falls somewhere between Grimus and the Enchantress.
How I wish the author understood the importance of remaining tethered to a discernible plot-line!
I wouldn't say this is a bad novel (because it isn't), but it most-certainly is one of his weakest stories yet.

Black Mass (2015)

At long last a film where Johny Depp isn't playing a fucking geeky geek!
As the notorious crime boss James 'Whitey' Bulger, a menacing make-up laden Depp manages quite brilliantly to lay low and still stand out at the right places as pure evil personified.
Bulger is a mob boss who will ask you a seemingly harmless question at random and whether you end up dead in a dumpster the following night or not will depend on how serious you sound to him when you answer.
While it would be a long shot to say that this is his best role ever, I could say that this might be his best role in the last half decade at least.
And he is supported by an excellent side cast, including Joel Edgerton (who the film belongs to, in my opinion), Benedict Cumberbatch (pulls off the Boston accent despite being British and that definitely earned some brownie points in my books), Julian Nicholson (is terrific in one scene where Bulger tries to freak her out), Kevin Bacon (bit role) and the promising Jesse Plemons (bit role again).
But despite the top notch acting, I would still say the movie is underwhelming on the whole. At best a good film. Not mind-blowing.
A definite one time viewing though.
Watch it for what has now officially been termed as Depp's return to serious acting and for Edgerton's performance as FBI agent John Connelly who was able to convince his agency to protect Bulger as an informant for nearly two decades in which Bulger managed to commit several counts of murder and racketeering without anybody pointing a finger at him.
Catch the trailer here:

Bone Tomahawk (2015)

What the fuck did I just watch right now! Seriously!
This came out of nowhere.
I wasn't expecting anything when I sat to watch this, but I must admit, this turned out to be one heck of a goose-bumps inducing and- not to mention- singularly gruesome viewing experience (Not sure how I will sleep now).
Starring Kurt Russell as a small-town sheriff who sets out with three other men to rescue captives taken by a group of savages living in the mountains, the film draws you in right from the word go and leaves you as curious as you can get when you have squished a spider with a Hardcover but haven't yet lifted the book to see what the result looks like.
While the pace is slow, the film is able to build an excruciating amount of curiosity as to what will happen next by combining elements from four different genres, namely- Western, Horror, Gore and Comedy, to brilliant effect.
The cinematography reminded me of some scenes from There Will Be Blood perhaps because of the coldness.
I think the usage of still camera shots with little or no focus on giving the audience a wider view of the background works in favour of the director as it creates a claustrophobic effect and you keep biting your nails all the time, knowing that danger is lurking only an inch outside the frame.
Also, that the acting is top notch (especially Russell) only adds to the effectiveness of it all.
I liked it. But you might want to check out the content advisory before going by my recommendation. Some really gory scenes in this.
Few in number, yes, but very... VERY disturbing.
Catch the trailer here: