NIRAJASTAN || blog

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Rey Looks So Damn Fine…But Why?

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I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens as any rational human should, fan or not, film lover or not. Naturally, it was awesome. It’s a great ode to the past while looking ahead to the future, which is hard to do with any franchise, especially one beloved as Star Wars.

Nevertheless, I have one observation—for now—that is bothering me.

It’s about Rey, the titular character in this latest epic. For a poor scavenger living on the barren, forsaken planet of Jakku, I find it interesting how great she looks. Did you notice how great Rey’s teeth look and her beautiful, unblemished skin?

Daisy-Ridley-as-Rey-in-The-Force-Awakens

Compared to other jamokes Rey shares the planet with, she looks fabulous, quite dishy in fact. Her athletic frame, adorned with perfectly fitting clothes, moves smoothly across the screen. Luke Skywalker gave off the same impression when we first meet him, but he worked on a farm, which clearly puts him in a higher income bracket than Rey, hence we are not surprised he has style. He had the cash. Not Rey.

It’s not a big deal and doesn’t take away from the narrative one iota. Hollywood is just strange this way—you can be poor and still be hot!

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Written by niraj

January 8th, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Tarantino’s Ode to Ultra Panavision 70

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In the opening credits of Hateful Eight, Tarantino does an unusual thing: he gives credit to Ultra Panavision 70, the camera used to shoot the film.

Hateful-8-Grab-9

Credit for camera equipment and film is normally reserved for tail end of closing credits, where it’s mostly ignored by the audience. Tarantino gives the camera its due respect—he puts it right up front where no can miss it. Always thought the camera was unheralded. In a way, it’s a star in its own right.

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Written by niraj

January 6th, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Thoughts on Hateful Eight

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Hateful-Eight-posterHateful Eight was the last movie I saw in 2015 and I have some thoughts that I would like to share. Like any Quentin Tarantino film, it was fantastic. It had it all: great script, brilliant dialogue, fluid, near perfect performances, and excellent cinematography. Where it ranks in the Tarantino canon is still up in the air.

A period piece, taking place in post-Civil War Wyoming, it’s Tarantino’s third such film. The other two, of course, are Unglorious Basterds, set during World War II, and Django Unchained, set during pre-Civil War South. Tarantino said he wants to be known as a Western director and plans two additional movies set in the West, so expect more.

And like Unglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, Hateful Eight is a meditation on race. There’s no doubt where Tarantino stands on the issue. He has the police squarely in the crosshairs with his comments protesting police brutality. People forget the context of race these days: Race still matters; we are not living in a post-racial world as some would like to believe. You just have to follow the Black Lives Matter movement to figure out why.

Another interesting thing to note about Hateful Eight is the portrayal of women. Of the eight main characters in the film, only one is female, Daisy, and she’s detestable. Even though she’s a criminal, a racist, and a cold-blooded murderer, she inspires sympathy because she is abused—by a man!—throughout the movie. Is society sympathetic to abused women simply because she’s a women regardless how vile a human being she might be? And if a man was vile as Daisy, and was abused like her, would he be equally as sympathetic? I guess Tarantino wanted us to think about it because he doesn’t answer the question for us.

Lastly, like all his other films, Tarantino engages in genre-bending with Hateful Eight. It’s a mystery movie wrapped in a western, wrapped in a political polemic. And as usual, it works brilliantly.

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Written by niraj

January 5th, 2016 at 8:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Happy New Year…and some Resolutions.

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I only have three resolutions for 2016. I will only keep two, one I will more than likely break.

  • Read more fiction
  • Definitely read more graphic novels
  • Blog more

Guess which one…

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Written by niraj

January 2nd, 2016 at 11:44 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Blue Angels: Flying to Daft Punk

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A very fun video of the Blue Angels, U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration team, displaying their keen aerobatic skills, as seen through the cockpit of its pilots.

The blistering sound track is an awesome Skrillex remix of various Daft Punk songs.

The video and song are a perfect mix.

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Written by niraj

June 17th, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Posted in aviation,music

Krafty Kuts – DJ Set Worth Listening To

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If you don’t know who Krafty Kuts is, you should. If you like funk, soul, hip-hop and chunky beats – a la Fatboy Slim – you should listen to this DJ set:

Simply divine…

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Written by niraj

April 5th, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Posted in music

Thoughts on the Oscars

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Totally agree with Key & Peele’s (transmitted through as William Sherman and Marshwan Lynch) take on the Oscars.

Shouldn’t those films nominated for best director be automatically nominated for best picture? And if there are ten slots for best picture, shouldn’t there be ten films and not just eight?

For me the whole process of how the Oscars are selected is screwed-up. Many members of the “Academy” don’t even bother to watch all the films that are nominated, often picking films based on some personal agenda, political or otherwise.

I think it’s all bullshit. This is why I stopped watching the Oscars in the first place.

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Written by niraj

February 22nd, 2015 at 9:30 am

Posted in movies and television

Tagged with ,

Justified: More Then a Crime Drama

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The Federalist has written a great post about one of my favorite television shows, Justified. It talks about the show’s literary qualities, that it’s just not some hardboiled crime drama set in the backwoods of Kentucky, but has “novelistic” intentions and philosophical undercurrents.

The show is filled with multiple arcs and plots, both small are large, but the most overarching theme is the conflict between Raylan Givens, titular lawman, complete with Marshall’s badge and ten-gallon hat; and Boyd Crowder, the villain, who is both ruthless and charming. Both are mirrors of each other.

…Boyd is no more a villain than Raylan is a hero; each man is a kind of shadow of the other, ill-suited to their assigned roles and unfit for the wider world. Cold and remorseless, justified in all his killings, Raylan is knotted up with anger and violence. His moral conscience amounts to allying himself with the law, though he ignores it when it’s convenient and flouts it openly to protect an ex-wife he loves but refuses to be with.

By contrast, Boyd exudes a kind of joie de vivre amid his many depredations while betraying a moral sensitivity far more developed than Raylan’s. He does wrong but doesn’t try to justify it to his conscience.

Raylan is not really a likable character. He’s rough around the edge, a bit of an outlaw who brandishes his own brand of justice: the kind where you shoot first and ask questions later. The man is filled with moral ambiguity from top to bottom. Even his cowboy hat—neither white or black, but beige – describes the man as an unlikable anti-hero. He has no friends or family to speak of except an estranged ex-wife. The only thing he has – and the only thing he really needs – is his job and his unyielding quest to put Boyd Crowder behind bars for good.

Boyd Crowder, murdering thug that he is, seems more likable than Raylan ever hopes to be. Smart, charming, Boyd is keen on maintaining relationships while Raylan is not. Oddly bookish, Boyd likes to talk in long-winded paragraphs, each like a soliloquy, like he’s a character from a Shakespeare play. And unlike Raylan, Boyd accepts who he is. He has a code, but there’s no moral ambiguity to him. And let’s admit it: We all like Boyd.

That we feel this way about the main characters proves to me how good Justified really is.

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Written by niraj

February 17th, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Blast From the Past: Les Rythimes Digitales

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Always loved dance music since I was a child. I have many fond memories listening to disco tracks during the late 1970s — with Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” not only a standard, but my all time favorite dance tune.

I listened to a lot of 80’s dance music, mostly remixes of Top 40 tracks, and found them to be both cheezy and a bore.

It was not until the late 1990s, with the arrival of internet as a distribution platform, did I discover new and interesting dance music that excited me like when I first heard the Bee Gees. There was house, trance, techno, jungle, etc. The variety was endless, and I was soaking it all up.

One of my favorite tracks of that era was from a UK label called Wall of Sound and they had this act called Les Rythimes Digitales (also known as Stuart Price) and he had an infectious pop-laced tune called “Hey You What’s That Sound?”

Take a listen.

There’s even a music video!

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Written by niraj

January 4th, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

New Year’s Resolution…For this Blog.

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I have some New Year’s resolutions for this blog. I kept them realistic this time and not too difficult to accomplish —I hope! Presently, I only have two for now.

  • To write one blog post a week, at a minimum. I think I wrote only 7-8 blog posts in 2014. Pathetic. I want to go back to my roots where I use to blog several times a day.
  • I will be adding several new pages. First one will be a section called comics & graphic novels, where I will track all the comics and graphic novels I have read for the year. There will be others, but they are currently in development.

That’s it. Hope you had a great 2014 and even a better 2015!

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Written by niraj

December 30th, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized