Netflix Saturdays : Trance ( Malayalam )

Trance, produced and directed by Anwar Rasheed, the by-word for 'cool' in Malayalam cinema, had a lot riding on it. Anwar was directing after eight long years. (Ustad Hotel was his last outing in 2012, a landmark movie that won a National Award) and this was also touted to be Fahadh Faasil's greatest movie of his entire career. In a career studded with magnum-opus roles, this was indeed a tall claim and so we waited, with bated breath to see how Trance was going to turn out.

Trance, as the word perhaps denotes, is a visual psychedelic rollercoaster that fucks with your mind and poses uncomfortable questions to our society, done up in signature uber-cool slick stylish frames. But one that ultimately fails to impress, falling prey to a convoluted messy second half, fraught with inconsistencies, overstaying its fabulous set-up and premise carefully stitched up in the taut, brilliant first half of the movie.

Trance is about drugs.
Covertly about the psychotropic ones that woul…

War of the Maps by Paul McAuley

I frankly haven't read Paul McAuley's previous works and so I was in for a pleasant surprise, when the premise and concept of War of the Maps, his latest novel, hooked me in easily. War of the Maps is a science fantasy concept set in a gorgeously realised sprawling artificial world, spinning around artificial suns, birthed in the aftermath of multiple galaxies colliding with each other. [ If that didn't hook you in, then I don't know what will!]

The anonymous hero, referred only as the lucidor, who is an ex-lawkeeper in this nation that calls itself Free States, is on the hunt for an escaped convict. While this is the central tenet to the whole plot. this becomes wrapped up within a much larger 'doomsday' plot, where an alien species has invaded the borders of this 'settled' world and this war is threatening to go out of hand. The lucidor is on the move, tracking this mad genius psychopath known as Remfrey He, whose evil genius and ambition knows no bo…

Netflix Recommendations ( Top 5 New Shows to Binge-watch during the #21Days of Lockdown )

So, doing my bit to alleviate some amount of boredom out there. I know, some folks have been coming back to me and saying, how much can I watch Desperate Housewives or Friends or Big Bang Theory re-runs on TV/ Netflix.

So, here's another one of those lists ( I know! there are so many floating around!) which will hopefully make your life easier, as you aimlessly surf through the truckloads of content on your Netflix subscription.

I am not okay with this ( Teenage Drama ) - Bite-sized episodes at less than 30 minutes, this one follows the life of a self-proclaimed introverted 'loser' teenage white girl who suddenly discovers strange new things happening in her life, including changes to her body. And it isn't just hormones. It's such a refreshing reversal on the teenage drama tropes, I absolutely loved it.

Kingdom ( Zombie/ Korean / Period) - Koreans make the best zombie movies/series ever. Period. [ Pun, coz this is set in the historical Kingdom at peril - both inter…

Top 5 Malayalam Movies to Binge-watch on TV during the Curfew weeks ahead

So I know we are all in for the long haul, biting our nails, scratching our heads, wondering how to kill so much of extra time we have on our hands, now that we are "working" from home. Well, if you love movies/ series or are enthralled by the Malayalam movie industry (as you should be!), then here are a few current "trending" ones, definitely worth your time across various OTT platforms.

Ayyapannum Koshiyum (2020, Language - Malayalam, Genre: Drama/Thriller, Platform - Prime)

Why watch: Powerhouse performances by both the lead actors, Prithviraj (his role selections have been a hit and miss usually, but this time!) and veteran Biju Menon. Taut little story about how a minor mishap snowballs into a vengeance drama fuelled by inflated male egos between a senior SI and a retired havildar. Ebbs and flows till it finally hits the flashpoint. Set in the backlands of remote villages on the border of Kerala/Tamilnadu, the folk songs and the rustic setting add a different …

Spring (Mar-Apr 2020) SFF Books to Look Forward to!

While the whole world is locked indoors to help contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, I think the publishing industry is marching on resolutely, giving us some fabulous new titles to binge-read on, in the coming months of March April.

Here is what I am excited about:

Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohammed
Described as a whimsical coming-of-age story of two children who have awakened an ancient evil, this promises a globe-trotting adventure of cosmic horror and an overall romp of a sci-fantasy story. ( March 3, Rebellion/Solaris)
Cyber Shogun Revolution by Peter Tieryas
Peter's been slowing build out his alt-historical world where Japan has taken over the US, and there are giant robots baying for blood, Nazis still at large, secret police are the trail of allied sympathizers and revolution is brewing just around the corner. Cracker of a setting. I need in on this and will bump this up on TBR list. [ March 3, Berkeley Publishing ]
War of the Maps by Paul McAuley
A giant a…

Waiting on Wednesday

This week on our regular Waiting on Wednesday, we are featuring Paul McAuley's latest one, from Gollancz - War of the Maps. A very intriguing sci-fi set up of an artificial world, orbiting a set of artificial suns where a retired law keeper has broken his previous promises and has come to the forefronts of a war in search of a criminal. Exciting premise! Frankly, I haven't heard enough about this book or have tried out Paul's books before. But the premise and early reads look insanely addictive!

On a giant artificial world surrounding an artificial sun, one man - a lucidor, a keeper of the peace, a policeman - is on the hunt. His target was responsible for an atrocity, but is too valuable to the government to be truly punished. Instead he has been sent to the frontlines of the war, to use his unique talents on the enemy. So the lucidor has ignored orders, deserted from his job, left his home and thrown his life away, in order to finally claim justice.
Separated by massive s…

Otaku by Chris Kluwe

Otaku in Japanese refers to the anime/manga/video-game obsessed fans and the underground culture, who put their games ahead of real social interactions.

In Chris Kluwe's debut cyberpunk sci-fi thriller Otaku, he opts to have a young black girl named Ashley Akachi as the protagonist in a future techno-influenced post-apocalyptic world where online/VR games have become a cultural obsession among the youth, to the point of the game superstars being offered brand commissions/ fandoms treating them as demi-idols in real life. Ashley is a certified star, top of the leaderboards in this set of games called the Infinite Games, leading an all-star cast called Sun Jewel warriors. Ashley herself is the celebrated "Ashura The Terrible" who sets the tone for the book in this opening chapter that pits her against a dragon - no big deal this, just another encounter - she proceeds to solo-decimate the dragon by throwing herself down it's gullet and slicing it up from inside [Yeah i