Monday, July 09, 2018

BookMarks #42: The War of the Worlds

Title: The War of the Worlds
Author: HG Wells
Genre: Science Fiction
Setting: Late 19th Century Britain
Published: 1998

The Martians invade Earth, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. No human forces seem able to contain the attack. Till they are finally laid low by the hostile environment of Earth.

We do not get to know of any of the major characters names. The story is told in bits and pieces through various accounts obtained by the narrator, who is a writer of philosophy and caught up in the events of the invasion of the Martians.

It is not a heroic tale, although we get to see bits of gallantry displayed all round but most of it ends up in disaster! Finally what saves the human species is not any ingenuity on their part but due to the Martians being unable to survive the terrestrial bacteria!

This is a tale of survival! The ones who survive are the ones who band together, stay hidden and camouflaged and run away at the appropriate time! Also, try not to worry about sacrificing a fellow human while managing their own survival.

“The War of the Worlds” set up the template for various alien invasion stories which Hollywood has kept rehashing for the last century. And there is the legendary radio broadcast, which set up near mass hysteria in its listeners about a Martian invasion!

HG Wells was certainly ahead of his time!

Previously on BookMarksMeasure What Matters 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

BookMarks #41: Measure What Matters

Title: Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs 
Author: John Doerr 
Genre: Non-fiction, Management, Business 
Published: 2018 

In Measure What Matters, John Doerr talks about the concept and utility of Objectives & Key Results (OKRs in short) as a tool for goal-setting and evaluating business performance. 

OKRs were introduced by Andy Grove in Intel, where Doerr started his career, in the 1970s. From Intel, Doerr took the gospel of OKRs around the world, especially in the tech sector. Google has been one of the most faithful adopters of the OKR philosophy. 

Measure What Matters describes what OKRs are and provides case studies of its adoption in different organizations worldwide like Google, Adobe, Lumeris, Gates Foundation, ONE foundation etc. 

OKRs streamline a company’s objectives and are communicated to all teams and individuals who then align their own OKRs to the company’s ones. Even the progress tracking and monitoring is open to all. Regular reviews are carried out for re-calibration of Objectives. 

The distinctive feature of OKRs is that an OKR will be considered successful if 60-70% of the objective has been fulfilled. If you are achieving the complete goal, then you are not stretching yourself! And thus it sets groups on track to outperform themselves! 

However, the book presents a very rosy picture of OKRs and it is a sold as a panacea for a company’s success. What we do not learn is what happens if OKR approach doesn’t work! 

Previously on BookMarks: Poirot: The Complete Short Stories 

Saturday, June 09, 2018

MovieNotes: Deadpool 2

Title: Deadpool 2
*ing: Deadpool, Thanos & others
Director: David Leitch
Language: English
Genre: Comicbook

Sequel to the ultra-fun superhero movie Deadpool. A man with superpowers who does not take himself too seriously.

Basic Premise
Deadpool attempts to save a young mutant from a time travelling soldier. 

MovieNotes [Spoilers Alert]
What do we love about Deadpool? He doesn’t take himself too seriously, is funny and witty, often breaks the fourth wall, and keeps reminding the viewers that this is just a movie like other movies. Yet, for all the nonsense spouted by Wade Wilson a.k.a Deadpool, the movie actually turns out to be an emotional roller-coaster with a grieving Wilson tries to figure out his life post his wife’s murder. 

The opening credits are all over the place, again seem to be the work of Honest Trailers team. Yet, they manage to open with a gun barrel sequence, with Celine Dion singing Ashes. The Deadpool team have here outsmarted James Bond as well!

The stand-out aspect of the movie is its self-deprecating humor – e.g. calling Cable as Thanos, not seeing the other X-Men in the mansion. All this enabling to keep up the fun quotient despite the tragic background.

The movie is a near non-stop torrent of cultural references – James Bond, Star Wars, MCU, DC Universe, X-Men, Wolverine, Stranger Things – nothing seems to have been spared. For all I know, I may have missed a thousand others as well.

During the last two decades, over the course of multiple movies, we have seen myriad abilities as superpowers, some physical, some of the mind, some simply extra-terrestrial, yet it turns out being lucky is the biggest superpower one can have. Sometimes plain luck (and some pluck) is what works when all else fails.

The Cameos – Vanisher is amazing & just when you though he was all CGI, it turns out he was Brad Pitt. Meanwhile, Matt Damon is just unrecognizable. Is doing cameos becoming a habit for him? (Remember Thor: Ragnarok – with the play inside the film)

Important Question – Which timeline is this movie set in? The X-Men shown are the younger versions (e.g. James MacAvoy plays Professor X, not Patrick Stewart), yet Deadpool references the later versions comparing and contrasting his movie to Logan, which is set much further in the future. Ah, mixed timelines! That’s why he is not appearing with the mainstream X-Men!

Finally, on time travel as a story element. Again, it’s too easy and too lazy. But Deadpool uses even this to more comic affect like killing Ryan Reynolds before he can sign Green Lantern!

India Connect – Deadpool’s friendly taxi driver Dopinder is now playing “Yunhi chala chal rahi”. He was listening to “mera joota hai japani” last time around!

And lastly, what next for Deadpool – teaming up with the remaining Avengers to stop Thanos? With his regenerative abilities (btw that leg growing scene is hilarious!!!), he should have certainly survived Thanos’ snap

Rating – 9/10. For just bringing back the fun element in superhero films.

Previously on MovieNotes – Avengers: Infinity Wars 

Friday, June 01, 2018

Thanos' Snap & the Aftermath

[Spoilers Ahead – Although it’s been weeks since the movie released, so should not matter] 

In Avengers: Infinity Wars, the central character, Thanos, seeks to bring together all six Infinity Stones, to enable fulfilling his mission to reduce the universe’s population to half, so that the other half can live happily on the remaining resources. The superhero team from across the universe joins forces in a failed attempt to stop him. Thanos succeeds and with a single snap of his fingers, makes every second living entity disappear from the face of this universe. 

What happens next will remain a point of conjecture, till the next movie comes up. In this post lets try to figure out the aftermath from a economics perspective. 

Thanos believes that resources are finite, the universe is overcrowded [a belief shared by every person who spends a considerable part of their day in commute] and the population has grown much beyond sustainable limits. For the betterment of humankind, he intends to destroy half of it. Resulting in the remaining half living happily ever after on effectively double the per capita resources. But does it really work out? 

Assumptions – Only Earth (as we know it) is considered. And the Snap works only on Homo Sapiens. All other life (plant, animal, extra-terrestrial) is spared. 

First, who survives the “snap” and who does not? As per Thanos, it will be a random occurrence. So assume it to be like a coin toss. We don’t know the outcome for each specific event but overall, it will be close to 50-50 heads or tails or in this case, survival or disappearance. 

And what happens to the survivors? Overcoming the initial shock itself will be a herculean task. Every other person just fading away, is too big a shock to easily recover from. They will have to bear with the huge emotional trauma of an unprecedented global scale. Humankind has faced disasters – both man-made (World Wars, atom bombs, terrorist attacks) and natural (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, cyclones) but these have been geographically limited and not on a global level. Here no corner would be spared. 

In the immediate aftermath of the snap, there would be further human losses. Folks in need of care (the sick, the very young and the very old) might not have people around to take care of them. Also, at any given point of time, millions of machines are running under human control (vehicles, industrial plants, utlities etc.), Sudden removal of this control in the immediate aftermath of the "snap", will lead to a multitude of accidents globally. Insurance companies are certainly going to take a major hit on their books from this global catastrophe.

Now coming to the resources bit. Assuming that the natural resources, crops, livestock are spared. Does it mean every survivor now has access to twice the per capita resources? The resource distribution is not homogeneous & neither is the consumption pattern. And more importantly the skill-sets required to manage the resources are differentiated. 

Natural resources – air, water, minerals – would be increased per capita. But managing the utilities will become a major task. 

Perishables will see a lot of wastage, as consumption would be halved (or even less, accounting for trauma and the cascading reductions). 

Supply chains will get severely impacted, with links broken in-between leading to glut of certain items and crunch of others. In an increasingly inter-connected world, breakdown in supply lines for essentials could create major havoc especially in the urban areas.

Labour will be in high demand leading to increased wages. But payment might be in kind and not cash. Barter system might make a sudden comeback. Overall production will reduce due to shortage of workforce. Automation might get a boost, but the number of consumers will also have reduced. So technological innovations might take a back-seat in the immediate aftermath. 

Prices will decline. Real estate will suffer. Owned housing will certainly become more affordable. Other consumer products will also lose selling value. Overall, economy will see a severe deflationary trend. 

The carbon footprint will decline. We might achieve the COP21 targets after all. Less humans will mean more space for the flora and fauna to thrive as well. The ecological balance will undergo a sea-change.

Some nations might have constitutional vacuums, if their leadership disappears. Significant shifts may occur in the geo-political map. Balkanization could become a worldwide phenomenon. Monte Carlo simulations might help predict boundary shift scenarios on the basis of which leadership survives ? 

Overall, the scenario becomes further bleak. Population reduced to less than half, survivors trying to rebuild from the trauma, supply chains broken, breakdown of law and order, territorial disputes, an economy in recession, shift in the ecological balance, climate change under control. In the immediate aftermath, the scenario appears grim for humankind. However, Homo Sapiens are a resilient lot. Life will survive and thrive again but it may take centuries to get things back on track i.e. exploiting our limited resources to the hilt and then some more. And what does the omnipotent, omniscient Thanos do in the interim? Does he wait for the population to grow back to a certain level and "snap" his fingers again or does he undertake regular trims? 

In all, Thanos's snap doesn't quite fufill his objective of making the world a better living place (at least for the humans). And certainly makes no economic sense.

Monday, May 28, 2018

MovieNotes: Avengers : Infinity Wars

Title: Avengers: Infinity Wars (IMDB
*ing: Thanos, The Avengers, The Guardians of the Galaxy, The Black Force, Peter Dinklage (the king of dwarves) and many more
Directed By: The Russo Brothers
Language: English, with a dash of Groot.
Genre: Fantasy, Comic Books, MCU

The most ambitious movie crossover ever with the largest assembly of superheroes coming together culminating 10 years of development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Basic Premise
Thanos seeks to bring together all six Infinity Stones, to enable fulfilling his mission to reduce the universe’s population to half, so that the other half can sustain on the remaining resources. The superhero team from across the universe joins forces in an attempt to stop him.

(Alert: Spoilers Galore – Not that it should matter anymore, after all it has been weeks since the movie released)
First, take a deep breath
Comicbooks are supposed to be fun with the heroes prevailing over the villains and everyone living happily ever after. But our bunch of Avengers just can't seem to catch a break!

What a story and what a movie (yes these are two different things). A movie full of familiar superheroes and yet the villain is the protagonist. Thanos has a motivation greater than from creating havoc or personal gain. He wants to make the world a better place! Believing that the universe is overcrowded [Aside - a belief shared by everyone who spends considerable time in their commute], he wants to take drastic measures, which involves removing every other living thing from the universe at the snap of his fingers! Whether one survived the snap was a totally random event without any bias or prejudice. And thus we have the stunning end (no one saw that coming) where Thanos actually achieves his objective and every other living creature just fades away! Even the end-credits say “Thanos will return”

Questions, and more Questions 
Are they really dead? If they are, this is a bigger carnage than the Red Wedding. Seems unlikely, given the other announced films (unless they cover events prior to Infinity Wars). If they are not dead, where have they disappeared to? How will they return (as seems likely)? Is time travel involved? If yes, as it is likely to be, it is a lazy way out and always unsatisfactory way of closing things out (Honest exception – Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban)

Now that he has achieved his mission of “removing” half of the universe’s population, what does Thanos do next? Does he sit on his throne, wait for the population to grow back to a certain level and snap again? Or does he use the soul stone to resurrect his loved one (if resurrection is possible, that is, and the sacrifice can be undone?)

Does the Snap destroy all living creatures (including trees and animals) or just human beings and related ones (it does affect Groot)? If yes, then we have half the population left with half the living resources, but with more individual space!

The missing ones – Where were Hawkeye, Antman, Wasp, Valkyrie, Mordo, Hela, the Ravagers? Did they survive the carnage? Will they have a role in the next installment? How convenient for the Marvel producers, any Contract dispute, and the character is just “snapped” off!

Why did Dr. Strange not use his power? After all, he managed to bore Doramammu to submission. He envisaged only one scenario of stopping Thanos. But just handing over the stone seems quite a convoluted way of stopping him.

Why can’t Dr. Bruce Banner change into Hulk? Is it a new trick from the master of trickery, Loki himself. After all, Loki dying in the opening minute of a movie, just doesn’t seem right.

Where did the fighting rhinos of Wakanda disappear? And could they not have closed the gap in the dome after a while?

Learnings (or not)
  • Groot is a full-fledged language in itself. And the University of Asgard has an elective course in it, which has been taken by Thor! Does it imply that there are more Groots in the universe?
  • Thor is 1,500 years old. Quite a long life. But the last 10 years have been terrible for him. That’s why should not have come to Earth.
  • What happens when superheroes are brought face-to-face? Bring two males face-to-face, a huge ego battle follows – Thor/Star-Lord or Iron Man/Dr. Strange. While the heroines show immediate camaraderie – a la Battle of Wakanda.
  • So, the country of Wakanda opened up to the world and became the battleground for an inter-galactic war! Wonder what the citizens must be thinking of these turn of events.
  • Vision is an android, i.e. a programmed robot. Not a human being or a living species. And is in a relationship with the Scarlet Witch! Conclusion - Westworld folks have infilitrated the MCU!
  • Nobody sees Rocket as a raccoon. Poor fellow is called a rabbit here!
  • The biggest cheer from the audience came when Captain America makes his first appearance on-screen. And to think Chris Evans has been shunted down in the end-credits to 5th now!
  • Have to give credit to the MCU folks. They show Hulk running in Wakanda, in the trailers but in the movie he doesn’t appear in Hulk form! Now that’s an anti-spoiler there!
  • The older ones survive, while the newer ones fade away. Just when we expected the opposite to happen. Remember reading Alistair Maclean's Force 10 from Navarone, where the new recruits die, while the old hands are left standing!
  • Captain Marvel – she is coming, but is she the destroyer of Thanos and savior of half of the universe’s populace? Will have to wait this one out.
And now for the long wait…
2019 can’t come soon enough. The Game of Thrones will come to its epic conclusion and so will the Avengers! Hmmm… it’s a long year’s wait for the fandoms.

Rating – 9/10. For delivering on the hype. And making you eagerly await the next installment.

Previously on MovieNotes: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Misssouri 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

LearnNBlog #14: Because It's There

“Because it’s there… Everest is the highest mountain in the world, and no man has reached its summit. Its existence is a challenge. The answer is instinctive, a part, i suppose, of man’s desire to conquer the universe.” - George Mallory

16th May, 2018. 
As part of the daily ritual, started the morning by flipping through The Times of India. Mostly filled with political stuff, which I ignored. Ended up reading an article on Everest “Trophy Hunters”. Basically people with more money than actual climbing experience, who are using Eeverest tour operators to pay their way through knocking off the achievement of having climbed Mt. Everest. It had quotes from Guy Cotter (he is also featured in the movie Everest), a New Zealand based adventure tour operator. And then comes the concluding paragraph in the print edition.

“They are not mountaineers. They are just people who want to claim the prize of climbing Mount Everest. They are hunting for that trophy,” said Tenzing Norgay, the first man to summit Everest together with Edmund Hillary in 1953. 

Now Tenzing Norgay passed away in 1986. So there was no way, he could have given this quote in 2018. And it could not have been an old quote either as Everest commercial climbing became a business only in the 90s! Unless, the reporter was time traveling or just using quote generators!

Now, we live in a world increasingly filled with “fake news” and propaganda. But why would anyone put in a fake quote? Turns out, the truth was a little less complicated. Times of India had run out of column inches and just ended the story at that point with minor edits! The actual article as per the News Agency AFP read:

"Nowadays people can go on the internet and buy the cheapest expedition onto the mountain. But there is no criteria for experience with some of these operators," said the owner of New Zealand-based Adventure Consultants. "They are not mountaineers. They are just people who want to claim the prize of climbing Mount Everest. They are hunting for that trophy." 
Tenzing Norgay, the first man to summit Everest together with New Zealander Edmund Hillary in 1953, only reached the top on his seventh attempt. 
Today amateur climbers expect to do it on their first try, prompting many to take higher risks blinded by "summit fever" and lulled into a false sense of security by the thousands who have succeeded before…. 

So who do we blame for this glaring editorial stupidity? Just goes to show how much Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V goes on in the journalistic world? How careless our news sources can be? Little knowledge is dangerous. And in the wrong hands, it can become downright perilous. 

P.S. And why this fascination with climbing Everest? I guess, as the legendary mountaineer George Mallory had said “Because it’s there”. 

P.P.S. And all this while I thought this was a quote by Sir Edmund Hillary. Well, we all learn something new everyday.

Further Links:
Previusly on Learn N Blog: Few or A Few

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Road To Tokyo: Episode 2

It's been eight months since I wrote the first episode in the "Road To Tokyo" series (which still comprises of that solitary post. Marvel folks make movies faster!). Had promised myself that I would write more regularly about India's preparations for the next Olympics at Tokyo in 2020. For different reasons, mainly general laziness and other distractions competing for the limited resource, that is time, somehow was not able to complete my second post so far. 

Originally had planned for the second episode to be about the changes made to the events schedule from Rio (and there have been a lot). However, while I dilly-dallied in my write-up, we witnessed our first big event in the "Road to Tokyo", the XXI Commonwealth Games (CWG) at Gold Coast, Australia. So instead, chose to write on India's performance at Gold Coast and what we should read from it. 

To be honest, we focus too much on the CWG. I guess, primarily due lots of medals pouring in from every direction during the course of the Games, a rare sight for an Indian sports fan at any multi-disciplinary event. However, given the overall level of competition it should be treated just as we treat the frequent tri-nation cricket tournaments. A feel-good factor on winning but it is not the World Cup or Champions Trophy. In my opinion, the CWG are a good warm-up event for the Olympics. Given their timing, two years before the Olympics, they also provide an opportunity to evaluate and undertake mid-course corrections in the four-year journey. 

So what can we take out from India’s performance? India won 26 Golds, 20 Silvers and 20 Bronze medals to finish 3rd in the medals table. This was a marked improvement from Glasgow where we had 15 Golds, 30 Silvers & 19 Bronze Medals to finish 5th. The increase in the Gold medal count was especially heartening to see. 

Amongst the sports which are a part of the Tokyo roster, India got medals from seven major disciplines - Shooting, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Boxing, Badminton, Table Tennis and Athletics. We also got medals in Squash, but that didn’t make the cut for Tokyo. 
  • Shooting – We dominate this event at the CWG. And that is why there is such a hue and cry that the next edition in Birmingham will not feature Shooting. There have been even calls to boycott the Games totally if Shooting is not included (totally ridiculous IMO). But back to the current Games. While India extended their dominance, what was heartening to see was the performance of the new generation of Indian shooters some of whom are still in school! Manu Bhaker, Anish Bhanwala, Mehuli Ghosh are still in their teens and shooting world records. Hopefully they can up their game further through more exposure and wipe off the agony off the Rio Games. Seems that NRAI’s self-introspection post-Rio is giving results. 
  • Weightlifting – Thankfully, India’s performers are clean now and the overhanging cloud of drugs has dissipated. Mirabai Chanu is the current World Champion and just blew off the competition. In fact, she lifted more than the winner of the next higher weight category. Certainly a contender at Tokyo. Rest of the contingent continued India’s good run at the Games. 
  • Wrestling – India sent 12 wrestlers, all of whom returned with a medal. Maybe some of the female wrestlers could have done better. But nothing much should be read in the performances except that Sushil Kumar is still a force to be reckoned with. 
  • Boxing – A marked improvement from Glasgow as all eight men returned with medals. Women’s front was slightly disappointing, however, Mary Kom got her 1st CWG Gold. 
  • Badminton – India were expected to dominate and that’s exactly what they did. There is still scope for improvement though, which Gopichand and company would already have begun working on. Great to see an India vs India Final as Saina Nehwal defeated PV Sindhu to win the Gold. 
  • Table Tennis – Manika Batra was the break-out star for India with 4 medals including two Golds while consistently beating higher ranked opponents. Only time would tell if the Gold Coast Games are an inflexion point in Indian Table Tennis and if Manika can become a trail-blazer like Saina. 
  • Athletics – Neeraj Chopra lived up to the hype and delivered a Gold. He is still 20 and hopefully will only improve further. Mohammed Anas broke the National Record in 400m finals and finished 4th, showing how far behind we are from the world standards. Hima Das is certainly one to watch out for in the near future. 
  • There were a few National records set in Swimming, but we were nowhere in contention for a medal. While in Gymnastics, Aruna Reddy couldn’t replicate her World Cup medal winning form. 
Now for the lows 
  • The poor performance by the Hockey teams, both of whom finished 4th in the competition. Really need to pull up their socks. Bigger challenges are coming in the year ahead including World Cups and Asian Games. 
  • Doping – While no athlete was caught doping, the Indian contingent had not one but two violations of the “no needle” policy. Two athletes were even sent back. This is a crying shame and worse than poor performance on the field. Hopefully, the athletes, coaches and management are made better aware of the rules and regulations and we do not see a repeat of such things. 
Overall Gold Coast was a happy hunting ground for the Indian contingent. But the real test is to come in Asian Games later this year. Also, qualifications for quite a few of the disciplines would begin in earnest. And that’s when we would well and truly be on the Road to Tokyo! 

  • Road To Tokyo, Episode 1
  • India at 2018 Commonwealth Games, Wikipedia

Monday, April 30, 2018

BookMarks #40: Poirot - The Complete Short Stories

Title: Poirot – The Complete Short Stories
Author: Agatha Christie
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Setting: Early to mid-20th century Europe, mostly focused in Britain.
Published: 2008

The book is a compilation of over 50 short stories written by Agatha Christie featuring Hercule Poirot. Although some of the stories go beyond “short” and run into over fifty pages! The stories were published over a period of 20 years from 1920s to 1940s. 

“Mon Ami”. We all love Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective, with an egg-shaped head and a neat walrus mustache, who focuses on order and method, and makes his deduction by exercising his little grey cells, dislikes needless running around, but never hesitates to make his energetic presence felt at the scene of action. And is always in control of the situation. But the most compelling feature of Hercule Poirot’s personality is the kindness of heart, something which many detectives seemingly lack.

The stories evolve with time, which is understandable given that they have been written over a period of more than two decades. Society itself changed a lot during the era, especially given the impact of the great wars.

My favorite story was not one but a set of twelve, right at the very end. The twelve labours of Hercules, as the detective called it, making them his swansong as he goes into retirement, a happy and content man. Funnily enough, I had read these as a separate compilation long time ago, and yet they did not seem as poignant at the time. Probably because they were read out of context! After all, while all the stories are independent there is a subtle link going through them.

There are lots of references to a certain British detective who precedes Poirot by a few years. Just goes to show, how big a fictional (and real world) phenomenon was Sherlock Holmes.

Now a confession time. It took me nearly seven years to read through the compilation. Says a lot about reading speed and enthusiasm these days. Well, in my (feeble) defense, it is a nearly 900-page tome and there is no immediate urge to go onto the next story after one ends! And in the interim, a few other books jumped in the queue. But having completed it, look forward to revisiting more of Christie classics! And yes, the stories truly are "Masterpieces in Miniature"!

Previously on BookMarks – In the Name of God 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

BookMarks #39: In The Name of God

Title: In the Name of God 
Author: Ravi Subramanian 
Genre: Fiction, Mystery 
Setting: Present Day India 
Published: 2017 

Mysterious deaths occur, when a team is sent to audit the wealth in a temple. And a CBI officer tries to establish the link between different occurrences across the country. 

Why did I read the book? One of the central characters of the book is named “Nirav Choksi” and he is a diamantaire by profession. Recently we had the frauds detected at Punjab National Bank (PNB), where the key accused are diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. Guess that was enough to pique the interest and get a copy of the book! 

A disclaimer upfront. There is no connection to the story of the PNB fraud and this book. While the real-life case is a story of fraudulent banking practices and creative accounting, the book has more drama involving, Gods, heists, antique thefts and smuggling, murders and love triangles! 

There is too much going on in the story. A heist at a Dubai mall, leading to a search for idols, smuggling of antiques, rivalry between diamond merchants, audit of a centuries old temple, family feuds, bomb blasts! Too many characters moving around and getting bumped off. Building up tales and not following on with them. And just too many coincidences! Story could have been better if the plot had been simplified and characters more fleshed out. Although I liked how real life happenings and people have a role to play in the story as well.

Previously on BookMarks: The Gondola Maker 

Monday, April 09, 2018

MovieNotes: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Title: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (IMDB
*ing: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell
Directed By: Martin McDonagh
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Crime

Basic Premise
A mother puts up billboards to try to force the authorities to solve her daughter’s murder.

(Spoilers Ahead)

The movie has interesting character sketches, all in varying shades of grey. Some of them who don’t even let death get in the way of throwing a few punches at their adversaries. And people can and do change with circumstances.

The open ending and its unresolved issues. The movie ends, while the story does not. And we, the audience, still do not know who the culprit(s) is (are). While the characters will figure out their path forward on the ride, we are left hanging and not taken on their journey!

The movie has its underlying themes of racism, class divide and homophobia. Is it a political comment on Trump's voter base?

It is difficult to set the time period of the movie – characters communicate via landlines or in person, news is disseminated through radio and television broadcasts. Although we do see a cellphone at the end! Internet is certainly not visible. So could be 80s or 90s!

Peter Dinklage seems to be playing a modernized version of Tyrion Lannister again. Getting typecast here!

Real life impact – protests in USA have taken up the format of using three signs to deliver personalized messages to the targeted politicians.

Rating: 9/10. Brilliant acting and a good storyline.

Previously on MovieNotes: Fukrey Returns