D-Day (2013)

… The secretary will disavow…

… After OBL, this was the most wanted terrorist in the world…

Welcome to D-Day, a 2013 film by Nikhil Advani. Some may label this film as the Indian version of Zero Dark Thirty, and they wouldn’t be far off the mark. The difference is that this bad guy is the fictional Goldman Iqbal Seth, and that the Indian government would consider this a totally covert operation with no government sanction whatsoever.

Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi) (above and below) plays Wali Khan, an Indian Muslim sent into Karachi, Pakistan 9 years ago as a sleeper cell. He lives and works as a barber shop owner.

Rishi Kapoor plays Goldman, the arms-dealer/terrorist.

Arjun Rampal (above) plays Captain Rudra Pratap Singh – he is the sharp stick of the good guys with a lengthy background as a special forces soldier. The 4th member of the group is Aslam, played by Aakash Daahiya – he is in charge of driving the vehicles.

There are three women with key roles:

Zoya and Rudra

Zoya and Rudra

Huma Qureshi plays Zoya – the munitions expert. She works with the semtex and handles the wiring and detonators. This is one deadly babe.

Shruti Haasan (above) plays Suraiya, a prostitute working in Karachi. She’s been around the block more than few times, and has been used and abused by many men. She’s got the facial scars to prove it.

Shiswara plays Wali’s wife Nafisa and the mother of his son.

Here is the mini-synopsis: A team of experts dispatched to bring in The Most Wanted Man in India almost achieves the unthinkable … until something goes horribly wrong.

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The Newsroom: Notes on The Season Finale

So Aaron Sorkin went back 33 years to find a song to close out the season finale of Newsroom’s second season. The song was Let My Love Open the Door, and it was penned by Pete Townsend for the 1980 album Empty Glass. Loved the song and it was fun to hear it. Especially after the universal happy ending for The Newsroom.

Overall the episode had lots of high spots, and not much happened that wasn’t expected, but it wasn’t all champagne and roses. Lisa was back and her scene with Jim went on far too long, and Jim and Hallie on their laptops skyping at least three times in episode was a case of technology overused.

On the other hand, Sloan was underused. Rather, Will cut her off at every opportunity, to the extent that it actually became both stressful and comical simultaneously. But when Sloan asked, “Are you doing this intentionally?”, Will replied – “No, but it is working out far better than I could have imagined…” At that point I actually laughed out loud.

Sydney Falco

Sydney Falco

I did love the part with the fictional Sydney Falco revealed as the buyer of the book Sloan purportedly autographed. And I loved how they revealed it.

But Leona and Charley at the party upstairs went on far too long.

And Leona was high again.

And Reese – what a pompous ass – still.

Tell me you didn’t see the engagement ring coming out of the locked draw, since they circled the wagons between Mack and Will to make that very thing (the ring) come back to life.

Neal was underused in this chapter – almost criminally so.

Oh, and let’s not forget that even the Wikipedia inaccuracy (Oxford was mistakenly referenced instead of Cambridge) got dealt with.

Other low points – Lauren Tom blind blindfolded once again. And really, were any of you stressed out by the diminishing lead in that Michigan race?

But the high points were sublime.

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Shootout at Wadala

Do you like gangster films? Did you watch every single episode of The Sopranos? Well, America is not the only country with gangsters. In Hong Kong there are the triads, in Japan there’s the yakuza, in Russia there is a mafia, even in India, the words Mumbai and mafia seem to go together.

A book entitled Dongri To Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia was published in the spring of 2012 In this book, the author, S. Hussain Zaidi, has attempted to chronicle the history of the Mumbai Mafia. In fact, the topic of crime lords has long been a staple of the Hindi film industry. I’ve seen a number of such films including: Gangs of Wasseypur, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Sarkar, and two directed by Ram Gopal VarmaSatya (1998), and Company (2002).

Back in 1982, Indian police were ‘granted their first contract’. This wasn’t a call to bring any arch criminal to justice. Instead it was more like an order from the highest in command, to rid the city of these gangsters. Methods? Up to and including execution without an arrest or trial.

The film Shootout at Wadala, directed by Sanjay Gupta,  is the prequel to Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007) which I reviewed, and they are very similar movies. In fact the entire genre seemingly has a similar structure. We usually see a younger man rise from obscurity to an eventual position of dominance. Once that happens one of three things will follow. Either he will be taken down by either a competing gang or someone younger within his own gang, or the alternative, a take down by the police.

In Shootout at Wadala, one Manohar Surve is an intelligent hard-working college student. He has a nice girl friend, is idealistic and driven. But his family has always had problems – no doubt because of a philandering father. Manohar has a step-brother who was involved with the wrong people. On the day he finally introduces his girl friend to his family, an altercation breaks out on the street below. Manohar runs to the aid of this step brother who is being roughed up by some goons from a rival gang. When Manohar pulls a bad guy off his brother, he had no idea that this would result in the stabbing death of the goon by the step brother. Named as an accomplice to this murder, he is sent off to prison.

Naturally in prison, every day is a matter of survival, and Manohar, played by John Abraham is very fit. After being beaten by the prison Don – ie the toughest guy incarcerated, in a scene that looks like a direct lift from Cool Hand Luke where Paul Newman fought George Kennedy, Manohar asks to become a disciple. Eventually, eight years later, Manohar and a prison pal escape while working in a chain gang, possibly another choice influenced by Cool Hand Luke.

He will then make some strides in the underworld before deciding that he didn’t want to work in some one else’s gang – he wanted his own gang.

The stronger Manohar, now called Manya, forms his own gang, collecting former prison pals and recruiting new tough guys. He begins to make a strong impact on the Bombay underworld. But the stronger and more well-known and feared he becomes, the target on his back grows proportionately. Other gangs are out to take him down, as are the police.

There’s your background and set up.

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The Bridge: Episode 10 – Old Friends / Recap and Analysis

This will begin as a straightforward recap, with some follow up analysis and questions. Of course, as this is a recap, it will be spoiler rich.

After purposely ramming the car driven by Sonya, Hastings/Tate drives away from the accident after pulling Gus from the wreckage, then placing him in handcuffs in the back of a car. Gus wants to know where they are going, and why is Hastings doing this. Meanwhile Sonya remains in the wreckage.

Sonya is pulled from the wreckage and driven off in an ambulance with Hank Wade. She has internal injuries, and a fractured arm. But she refuses to stay in the hospital or have surgery to set he bone in her arm.

Hastings drives with Gus to some industrial park. He then zaps Gus with a taser.

Matthew Lillard as Daniel Frye and Emily Rios as Adriana Mendez - two of the series best acted roles

Matthew Lillard as Daniel Frye and Emily Rios as Adriana Mendez – two of the series best acted roles

Frye has fallen off the wagon. Mendez confronts him in the newspaper office and Frye confesses his involvement in the auto accident involving Tate’s wife and son. Frye was partying with Santi Jr. (the guy stabbed to death by Hastings/Tate) who was driving and hit Tate’s wife car, then drove off. And rather than doing the right thing, and testifying against Santi Jr., Frye allowed himself to be bought off with a job offer at a Houston newspaper by Santi’s father.

Mendez convinces him to attend an AA meeting the next morning. She’ll even go with him.

Alma Ruiz is home with the girls. She’s worried about Gus. Marco arrives home and suggests that Alma and the girls go with him back to El Paso. But she’s made other arrangements. She will stay with her father and brothers.

Frye goes to the AA meeting, which at first he doesn’t take seriously, But soon he decides to pledge that he will get sober. After the meeting ends, Frye is abducted by Hastings/Tate.

Mendez arrives at the El Paso police and informs Hank Wade that she thinks Frye has been taken. She then tells Wade about Frye’s confession about the accident six years ago.

Gus has been placed inside some sort of container. His mouth is taped shut and his hands are still manacled behind him. A liquid is being poured into this tank. Gus will drown.

The Tate car is found at a cemetery. But there’s no sign of Gus. Sonya and Ruiz go through the papers found in the car and find a current document with an address which turns out to be old age home. There’s an old man there who has Alzheimer’s. He recognizes the photo of Hastings/Tate but calls him his father. But there’s a clue. This old man still owns a home. And we will learn he is Tate’s uncle.

Sonya becomes empathetic: I can't say we will find Gus, but you can't say we won't.

Sonya becomes empathetic:
I can’t say we will find Gus, but you can’t say we won’t.

Sonya and Marco go to that house. Empty of course. No sign of Gus. Tate calls Marco on the phone. And demands a meeting with Marco who must come alone. Sonya thinks that this house is where

Tate kept Christina Fuentes’ legs in a large freezer. Marco asks Sonya for her gun, which she reluctantly hands over. Marco then drives off to an undisclosed place to meet Tate.

Meanwhile, in the middle of no where, Charlotte and Ray meet their old buddy, Tampa Tim, who, under duress, confesses that he is an informant for the ATF. After Ray cannot pull the trigger,

Charlotte kills him. It was his arms shipment that Ray sold to Graziela, who discovered the tracking devices. And came after Ray. Charlotte and Cesar killed her with A a pitchfork, and Cesar shot her henchman with a shotgun a few weeks ago. Charlotte is also plenty upset because her husband left all his money to his daughter. Charlotte got the house and property.

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The Grandmaster (2013)

The Grandmaster by Wong Kar Wai is a beautiful film visually. Breathtaking actually. But it is more about the cinematic arts than the telling of a story. It is also more about style than substance. And I believe that the title is a tad misleading.

I knew going in that Tony Leung was cast as Ip Man, a legendary Chinese martial arts instructor. Even the poster said, “Inspired by the True Story of Bruce Lee’s Master.”

Yes, Ip Man would train Bruce Lee in real life, but Ip Man is not the Grandmaster. The real Grandmaster was the father of Gong Er, the character played by Zhang Ziyi.

An old and famous teacher of Martial arts – Gong Yutian wants to extend his legacy to South China and Hong Kong and asks for candidates. Among which is Tony Leung as Ip Man.

At the Gong home, Ip Man and Gong Er have a fight to establish something – I’m not exactly clear, but the rules were that if any part of the house was broken or damaged, the winner would be the opponent who did not break something.

So Leung and Ziyi Zhang swirl, and leap, and throw their punches, kicks, and elbows in a match that seems less squared off than more of a tidal flow. However, upon a heavy landing, Ip Man caused a separation in the floor boards, in effect breaking the floor. As such, Gong Er was the winner. But the two remained friends.

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Broadchurch: Episode Six – Recap & Analysis

Episode Six of Broadchurch opened with business as usual. Lots and lots of spoilers ahead.

Vicar Paul Coates blasts the community for failing Jack Marshall just as it failed Danny Latimer. Inspector Alec Hardy has nightmares and a near fainting spell at the Marshall funeral. Tom Miller reveals that he wasn’t Danny’s best friend. In fact, he hated Danny and he’s glad he’s dead.


That came out of nowhere and was completely unexpected. Is the reader FD correct? This certainly changes everyone’s views of Tom. However I don’t think what we know about Tom is that compelling. Shocking? Yes.  Incriminating? Not yet. Right now it is far too early in the episode and far too early in the series. IMHO – just another misdirection that we can easily label a false lead.

After the Marshall funeral, people do to try to pick up the pieces. Mark goes back to work with Nige. Chloe goes back to school but feels isolated. Beth asks Karen White to arrange a meeting with a woman who lost a daughter in the Sandbrook murder.

Hardy's dream

Hardy’s dream

This woman and Beth meet at a diner, and the woman seems to know exactly where Beth is right now, having been there herself. When Beth asks her how she dealt with it,she says that her tactics for coping were: Sleep, Drink, TV, and Sleeping Pills and none of them worked. This woman also told Beth about how badly Hardy had botched the case in Sandbrook. Evidence went missing, testimony in court was delivered badly. In short – Hardy is the worst. Don’t trust a word he says.

Speaking of Hardy, he went after Vicar Coates, who the police  now know has a problem with alcohol. He also had an altercation with a child. Hardy called it insults. Coates described it as a joke gone bad.

Tom Miller again looked suspicious when he asked Vicar Coates about stuff that was ‘accidentally deleted from a hard drive”. Coates told him that there were recovery software programs that could resurrect the data, and that police technicians could probably do it as well. Tom said okay – thanks.

Chloe returned to school then ended up leaving school early. She couldn’t take a minute more of being ‘the dead boy’s sister’. So she rang Dean and he came and got her. She just needed a break. But Beth went into panic mode when she heard from the school that Chloe hadn’t returned after lunch break. Mark collected Beth and headed out to the farm where Dean had a flat. This caught Beth by surprise as Mark hadn’t informed her about Dean.

Hardy had Vicar Coates come in to give a DNA sample via a mouth swab. They got into it. Coates resented Hardy’s attitude. Don’t you go questioning my faith just because you have none.

Ollie and his editor, Maggie Radcliffe started to dig into Susan Wright. Radcliffe was enjoying herself. She even referenced Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Ollie hadn’t a clue as to who they were. Radcliffe said, God, how I hate the young. But her digging unearthed some results. She then posted a sealed envelope on Susan’s front door.

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Broadchurch on BBC America – Episode 5

Broadchurch Episode 5 aired last Wednesday on BBC America and Episode 6 is scheduled for tonight. The latest headlines from Broadchurch is that the town simultaneously suffered its second death, while the suspect list in the death of Danny was reduced by one.

Yes Jack Marshall is gone. Hounded by the sensational tabloid press, and bothered deeply by the suspicions of the townsfolk, who dressed up in their near lynch mob cloaks, and marched on Jack Marshall at the Sea Brigade. The only thing missing were the pitchforks and flaming torches. Mark Latimore, Danny’s father, was able to convince them to disperse, which they did.

Only under the cover of night, they snuck back and wrecked Jack Marshall’s car, and grafittied his property. But for Marshall this was not unexpected. His jaw clenched even tighter than normal, and he stayed in. But the next morning, he discovered that he was once more all over the front pages of the newspapers delivered to his shop.

As Jack had said in an earlier episode – I sell the papers, I don’t want to be in the papers.

So that morning, once the sun was up, Jack’s body, still in his bathrobe, was discovered on the beach. The implication being that Jack had leaped off the cliff to his death.

Of course, there is an alternate theory, albeit a weak one, that someone killed Jack. But this would serve no useful purpose unless:

Jack knew who killed Danny and/or the real killer had planted sufficient evidence in Jack’s shop or home that would incriminate Jack.

There’s another thought that Jack’s suicide was really another hammer blow to the nail about the downside of living in a small town, as well as another swipe at the ‘evil practitioners’ who were a part of the Fourth Estate which usually refers to the press/media.

Many questions still have not been answered, which makes for a lot of speculations by we viewers. We still have not been able to clear at least the remaining top three suspects.

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The Newsroom: Sn 02 Episode 08 – Election Night Part 1 – Recap and Commentary


Because Boardwalk Empire ran a tad long, The Newsroom began promptly at 10:01. By 10:35 I was feeling a bit more than simply antsy waiting for something worthwhile to occur. What I got from Mr. Aaron Sorkin in the first 35 minutes was a whole bunch of people talking rapidly, about stuff I really didn’t care about. Or so it seemed.

But appearances can be deceiving. As it turned out, the episode wasn’t nearly as scattershot as I originally peceived. In fact it was tightly woven. Some stitches were wrong and stood out as mistakes, but the overall episode really worked when it chose to. But it didn’t choose to often enough. Read on.

The episode title was Election Night Part 1, and the opening was Jim Harper and Hallie Shea communicating via laptops. Harper wanted what he was about to tell Hallie to be ‘off-the-record’ and he insisted that Hallie speak those three little words before he would spill his guts about the resignations at the top of the news division that were turned away by Leona, and the mass resignations by staff that were planned but still hadn’t happened.

While the internal combustion of a cable network news show was big news – I still wasn’t happy about seeing Hallie on Jim’s laptop rather than in a full size version.

Back In Will’s office – Charlie called Will Father Flanagan, a reference to Fr Flanagan and to the film Boys Town (1938) and ‘never ending optimism’. Will wanted to feel good, and had appointed himself the bearer of glad tidings, or said another way, he had put himself in charge of boosting office morale. However, in the aftermath of the Genoa thing, 48 hours ago on the show, but two weeks ago for we viewers, Charlie still wanted to fall on his sword (with Will), or have Will fire MacKenzie. No go said Will. Charlie replied that he’s not firing anyone either, and he needs to be fired himself.

Lady lawyer Rebecca Halliday was also at this meeting. She was dressed to the nines, or as she put it, her outfit could be called liquid sex (as it was that hot) and she was headed upstairs for Reese Lansing’s Election Night soiree. But before then, she had some news to discuss with Don Keefer.

Next there was a makeup room chat with Elliot, Sloan and Taylor who has been asked to appear on the election night coverage. Elliot and Sloan got into a tiff because Elliot had told Sloan something which I shall refer to as Dakota Batts, and Sloan said there’s no way she won’t talk about that race all night. Elliot said, I am. Sloan – I called it. Elliot: What do you mean? I just told it to you. Sloan countered with, Yeah, but I called it…!

Really? On prime time? Sloan and Elliot just resurrected something from Seinfeld. And Taylor settled it by saying, Yeah, I’ve always understood that you had to call it.


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Auto Racing: Ron Howard’s Rush plus Many Other Racing Films

More powerful than even the fear of death itself is the will to win…

That’s a quote from the new Ron Howard film Rush, which will open in about three weeks. IMDB describes the film: Set against the sexy, glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s, the film is based on the true story of a great sporting rivalry between handsome English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth)and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Austrian driver Niki Lauda ( Daniel Bruhl).

Rush 0001

As you know, racing cars is as dangerous as it gets, one mistake and you could die.

With such a premise, racing has long been fascinating to men all over the world, and the movies have tried again and again to capture the experience for movie goers. Of course, they are also trying to sell movie tickets. But it should come as no surprise that some of the world’s best known and popular movie stars of the last half century have tried their hand in films about racing. Some of these films were very good, and others, not so good.

As a run up to Rush, let’s have a look at some of the film world’s biggest stars in racing films. This is a list based on top actors, not based on the quality of the film. I’ve not included films that had driving excellence  like Bullitt, French Connection, etc, as they were not about racing or had a racing background. And I’m sure the list is far from complete. So this is not a Best Of List. You can add other films in the comments section if you like.

When you see the cars, you are amazed about how small and cramped they really are. They are built for speed, and speed. Not much else.  As a character in Grand Prix described it:

Then I go into one of these, these cars: you sit in a box, a coffin, gasoline all around you. It is like being inside a bomb!

Grand Prix 0001

GRAND PRIX (1966) – James Garner, Yves Montand, Eva Marie Saint, Toshiro Mifune, and Jessica Walter. Directed by John Frankenheimer.

Grand Prix 0004

After an accident in the Grand Prix of Monaco, Garner as Pete Aron, an American driver is talking to the winner of the race, Jean Pierre Sarti, played by Yves Montand.

Pete Aron: Jordan says I was blocking him. That I didn’t give him a signal to pass.
Jean Pierre Sarti : Did you?
Pete Aron: Of course I did. Gear box froze coming out of the tunnel, and I waved him through. I got on the brakes. They locked up. Threw me in front of him. Next thing I knew, I was in the middle of the Mediterranean.

Yes, racing is scary. In seconds, Aron went from leading the race, to having to be pulled out of the sea.


Pete Aron : There’s a lie that all drivers tell themselves: Death is something that happens to other people.

And yet they go back to it. They race again and again. They’re unable to resist the siren song of speed, adulation, fame, money, and of course, women. But how do they think of it?

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