Thursday, January 26, 2017

Split: What The Ending Actually Means

Spoilers!!!!!!!!!!! Spoilers!!!!!!!!!!! Spoilers!!!!!!!!!!! Spoilers!!!!!!!!!!! Spoilers!!!!!!!!!!!

We now have a Shyamalan Cinematic Universe alongside the Marvel and DC ones. So if you have watched the movie right to the end, you will know that it is set in the same cinematic universe as another Shyamalan film, 'Unbreakable.' 

The Shymalan Cinematic Universe

It is interesting to note how 'Unbreakable' came out back in 2000, which was 17 years ago, on the same year the first 'X-Men' movie came out. That was all before the whole superhero renaissance when superhero movies existed in their own worlds. Now, James McAvoy is part of both franchises. Just an interesting observation. 

While 'Split' is being marketed as a horror-thriller, it also serves an origin story for David Dunne’s next super villain, The Hoard. While many fans were genuinely surprised by the twist, one very observant Reddit user noticed how the poster for 'Split' actually spoils the movie ending. The poster is similar to the poster for 'Unbreakable', in which there is a glass crack that divides both Bruce Willis' and Samuel L. Jackson's characters. 

David Dunne and Kevin Wendell Crumb Have Interacted Before?

It is interesting to note how it is mentioned in 'Split' that the father of McAvoy's Kevin died in a train-related incident. Could it be possible that he died on the same train that Willis' David Dunne survived? That must have been the reason McAvoy's Kevin placed a flower bouquet at the train platform. However, David Dunne was on a cross country type passenger train while this train seemed more like an intercity subway. 

But still, if this theory is true, then it has some serious implications to Shyamalan's cinematic universe. This would mean Samuel L. Jackson's Mr. Glass or Elijah, who was obsessed in creating a superhero as his own personal counterpart, unknowingly created another super villain as well.

Why These Three Girls?

The reference to the train incident is not the only example of brilliant foreshadowing in the film. Kevin does mention to the girls he abducted that they are 'sacred food'. One of the girl assumes he is going to feed them to a dog. Turns out they are food for his 24th identity that is waiting to break out.

Now that we are thinking about it, why were these three particular girls taken? It is revealed that Kevin's violent Dennis identity have been watching Claire and Marcia for sometime. Could they have been the one involved in the incident where Kevin was sexually harassed by teenage girls at his workplace? And the innocent, distant Casey just happened to be in the car with the two other girls when they were taken?

What Type of Super Villain will The Hoard Be?

Although Claire and Marcia do not seem like mean girls, there must have been a reason why they were eaten by Kevin's monstrous identity, The Beast while Casey was left alive. After seeing the scars from her stomach due to her abusive uncle, The Beast understands that like Kevin, Casey was abused and is thus, pure.

So, what is the exact nature of this Beast? Is he like another fictional character with split personality from the 2005 Tamil film 'Anniyan'? In that film, the law-abiding Ambi becomes fed up of seeing criminals escaping the law and develops the identity called Anniyan. Anniyan violently murders those he deems evil according to the punishments stated in the Hindu holy scriptures.

Unbreakable 2

Another instance where the tie-in to 'Unbreakable' is foreshadowed happens towards the end of the film. Kevin is talking to his other identities through his mirror, and James Newton Howard's background score from 'Unbreakable' starts playing. Not many fans would have picked up on that, although the absolute die-hard Shyamalan fan boys might have. 

There is also an even more subtle hint. The young Hedwig personality enjoys listening to Kanye West. One of Kanye's songs is 'Through the Wire' which references 'Unbreakable.' The song goes, "Unbreakable, would you thought they called me Mr. Glass." 

Now that it is official Shyamalan will be making a sequel to 'Unbreakable', could it be possible that Kevin, now dubbed The Hoard by the media, will be plotting to take revenge against Mr. Glass for killing his father in the train crash? Seems like an obvious premise. 

It is understandable why, although most people enjoyed this film, the so-called twist ending has audiences, for a lack of a better term, split. The film assumes you have watched 'Unbreakable' and will therefore understand the significance of Bruce Willis' cameo at the end of the film. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dhruva Natchathiram: A Teaser Breakdown

So the teaser came out on January 14th. Some are arguing it is more of a trailer on the basis of its length alone. It is over two minutes long. Any Gautham Menon fan will know that this project was originally intended for actor Surya, who backed out of the film. Now, a few years later, the project has been revived with actor Vikram. The teaser has Gautham Menon and Vikram fans all across the world excited for August 2017. 

So here is the one of the popular first look posters that was released a few days before the teaser. It has Vikram in a nicely tailored suit and a stylish salt-and-pepper look holding an American newspaper. So that was already a major hint that the film will be predominantly set in The States. Also, it had the hashtag #meetJOHN. 

Below is the original poster when Surya was attached to the project. It is a list of 11 names with a twelfth one simply stating "Looking for my 12th man." It had fans intrigued and it was such a downer when the project was infamously shelved. 

Another promotional poster of the revived film was released next. This one looked very similar to the Surya one, apart from a few names and the order changed. Also, this one does have a twelfth name, and it is Dhruv. There is also the phrase "My Basement" underlined below, just like in the Surya poster. Clearly, this basement is something important. What does it mean?

Over the next few days, before the release of the full-fledged teaser, a few promotional movie stills were revealed online. These three feature a seemingly younger Vikram with jet black hair. Could this be a younger version of the John character. Or could it be someone else. 

Then, there were some stills with a more mature-looking Vikram with the salt-and-pepper look playing John. Why two different looks?

Now let's go into the trailer.

We see Vikram getting some coffee at a New York cafe. In the background, there is an ongoing by two unknown characters. They are speaking about John who has gone off the radar for many years and have resurfaced after being spotted by the US immigration. He met with the US Secretary of State due to a drone strike on Pakistan and this somehow led to some problem with the CIA. 

We then cut to several montage scenes of John going about New York City in different looks. 

There is also mention of how this John is a threat to these unknown narrators. It is hinted that John is part of a covert Indian team of possibly eight to ten members. But we are not shown anyone else apart from John. Could it be just John operating as different personalities?

We then return to the scene of John with his laptop at the cafe. It is revealed that a mysterious Mr. K is the mastermind behind this covert team. This comes as a shock to one of the narrators, suggesting that this Mr. K is a character we should watch our for. 

Now one of the promotional posters had the word 'Basement' on it. Maybe it is not an actual basement but some kind of code name John is using, judging from this shot. 

As the Skype connection is made, John receives a message from another mystery person called Darkman, who claims to have Mr. K with him. This prompts John to make a Skype call to get to Darkman. Meanwhile, we are shown scenes of someone, possibly with evil intentions, secretly taking photos of John while he is out and about. 

We also see John talking to this girl, as well as going ice skating with her. Could she be an important character or just another extra?

One of the narrators state it is their agenda of the year to abduct Mr. K in order to eliminate John and his entire team. For that, they have a plan. It is possible that it is these guys who are shadowing John. 

And then, the audio and visual finally sync as John and Darkman finally speak via Skype. Darkman allows John to speak to Mr. K for awhile. Darkman demands John meet him at Cannought place in New Delhi if he wishes to see Mr. K alive. John accepts the challenge. 

The teaser ends with John walking through what seems to be the hanger of an airport where perhaps a plane is waiting to take him to New Delhi. 

Some questions that have me hooked:

- Who are the 8 - 10 members of this covert team? Could it be Vikram in a multiple roles?
- Only Vikram is shown in the teaser. Is this a hint he is working alone?
- Who is Mr. K? Is Gautham Menon playing him?
- Does the story line feature US, India and Pakistan? 
- Is Senthil Veerasamy, Gautham's long time associate playing Darkman?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

My Top 10 Tamil Films of 2016

Just so you know, this list only features films we have watched this year. Therefore, you will not find Dhruvangal 16, Aandavan Kattalai, Irundhi Suttru or Pichaikaran here since we have not had the chance to watch them yet. So here is a list of the Top 10 Tamil Films of 2016 that we have watched so far. Here we go: 

10) Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum

This film would have been higher up the list if it was not an official remake of the 2010 Korean film My Dear Desperado. Yes, it is an official remake, not a rip-off. Don't be fooled by the simple premise of a street smart gangster wannabe falling in love with a well-educated engineering graduate. The blossoming love between these two young people from very different backgrounds is beautifully narrated with some lighthearted comedic moments thrown in to spice things up.

Source: Google Images

9) 24

Putting aside that outdated, cringe-worthy love portion and strange ending, Vikram Kumar really took the time-travel genre and made it his own. The time machine here does not transport one's body between time, but rather their consciousness. Apart from the story, the technical team also outdid themselves with the music, costume, set designs and everything else to produce and very good looking film.

Source: Google Images

8) Joker

The first few minutes of the film led audiences to assume this is a dark comedy with a mental patient who thinks he is the Indian president and comedy rarely works in this industry when it is dark. But those who stayed with the film saw how director Raju Murugan handled multiple serious topics in one film in a satirical way and left a huge impact in our hearts.

Source: Google Images

7) Thoza

This is one of the few better remakes out there. Tamil cinema has been plagued in recent years with bilinguals that seem more like a dubbed film which are made simply to cash out on two languages' audiences. This one, however, is a proper out and out Tamil film. Apart from the great story and great acting, it was a please to see Tamannah and Nagarjunan speak in Tamil rather than using dubbing artistes.

Source: Google Images

6) Jil Jung Juk

An action comedy set in a post-apocalyptic India with three heroes, no romantic subplot based on a famous dialogue by Vadivelu? Sold! There are times when the film really stretches out and tries to hard to be better than it already is. But overall, especially taking into account the mere effort to make a film like this, this film deserves a place in this list.

Source: Google Images

5) Kabali 

Tamil critics labeled it too alternative for Rajni. Non-Tamil critics called this too formulaic for Rajni. But following the aftermath of average reviews, many came to see this as a film where directed Ranjith tried to make a genuine gangster film, but with a movie star in it. Whether it was done well or not had both critics and audiences split. Nevertheless, this film was well received in Malaysia, where the film is set. For the first time, an Indian film depicted the Indian diaspora here accurately and not how Indians in the fatherland view them.

Source: Google Images

4) Iraivi

When it was announced that director Karthik Subbaraj, who has only made a critically acclaimed suspense horror and a gangster comedy, is now making a feminist drama, he had people scratching their heads. What is a new age director doing in K. Balachandar territory? After watching this film, it is safe to say it is not a preachy, feminist film that we were expecting, but rather a film about women, with a heist subplot in it. In an industry where women are almost always objectified, it is nice to see a film that shines some light on an issue that has plagued the Indian women for ages.

Source: Google Images

3) Kuttrame Thandanai

The opening shots of the film led audiences to believe they have once again walked into one of those low budget, artsy films. And they are probably right. But this film is so much more than that. The film rejects the usual narrative about an alpha male hero, but instead revolves around a young man suffering from tunnel vision that is slowly making him blind. This illness acts as both a figurative and metaphorical state of what happens to our hero throughout the story. A truly intense trailer that has everyone wanting to know what happens next.

Source: Google Images

2) Acham Yembanthu Madamayaada

The VTV Trio is finally back. Watching the film, it does feel like three separate films. The first act was a feel good romance film, not unlike what director Gautham Menon is great at. The second act is the most nail-biting, action-packed, thrilling road film Tamil cinema has seen this year. Despite these two distinctive genres, they do come together well. If only not for the third act, which felt like a cheesy, commercial, 'masala' flick, this film would have been the number one movie of the year.

Source: Google Images

1) Visaranai 

No matter how serious a Tamil film is, most filmmakers try to push in a romantic subplot and a comedy sidetrack to keep things lighthearted. That is why it is really unusual to watch a film so dark yet uncomfortably entertaining produced today. Adapted from a novel that was based on a true story, this film has already made its rounds in international film festivals. Though it will keep you at the edge of your seats throughout, the film will leave a mark on you that will have you questioning if it is safe to trust the authorities ever again.

Source: Google Images

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Top 20 Most Beautiful Gothic Churches in India

India is not just the land of Hindu temples. About 2.3% of the population is Christian, which is roughly about 27.8 million of its people. Contrary to popular belief, Christianity reached India long before the arrival of the British and other Europeans. Though there are many church designs that can be seen in India, these Gothic churches look like those from Europe. Here is a list of The Most Beautiful Gothic Churches in India in no particular order. 

1) All Saints Cathedral Allahabad

2) The Afghan Church, Mumbai

3) Christ Church, Simla 

4) St. Andrew's Basilica, Arthunkal

5) St. Lawrence Shrine

6) Loyola College Church, Chennai

7) Our Lady of Lourdes Church , Tiruchirappalli

8) St. Mary's Church, Madurai

9) Holy Spirit Church, Manapad

10) St. Mary's Basilica, Bangalore

11) St. James' Church, Manapad

12) Our Lady of Ransom Church, Kanyakumari

13) Idaikattur Church, Madurai

14) Our Lady of Dolorous Catholic Basilica, Thrissur

15) St. Joseph's Cathedral, Trivandrum

16) Santhome Basilica, Mylapore

17) Medak Cathedral, Medak

18) St. Philomena's Cathedral, Mysore

19) Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, Velankanni

20) St. Paul's Cathedral, Kolkata

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